John 15:9-14 (NLT)
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”
God loves relationships. Jesus Christ died to restore our friendship with God. Sin disabled our ability to remain righteous and stand in the Presence of the Living God for His Love and Justice would consume us in our weakness. The Blood of Jesus now covers mankind and all who decide to accept the Wonderful Gift of Salvation has the ability to live in close fellowship with the Lord. Notice that it is a gift of choice, salvation is required by all but not forced on God’s People. The Blood of Jesus Christ is the only thing that will allow a human being to pass through God’s Judgment untouched and unharmed, but the choice is still yours whether or not you choose to lean on God’s Love and Amazing Grace. What does God require of you in exchange for His Gift of Love nothing more than to be His Friend?
Relationships, companionship and friendship are the lifelong desire of every single person who is born. It is a God-given drive and emotion stemming from Eternity that is in your heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11). God’s Passionate Love has placed a measure of faith in our heart that allows us to still believe that there may be hope in this world and prods us to love even with broken devastated hearts passed amongst many unfaithful and unworthy recipients. God invites you to gather the many pieces of your broken heart today and bring them all into close fellowship with the healer. The Lord will heal your broken heart and bind up those wounds. (Psalm 147:3) His Word allows us to put proper perspective and expectation on earthly relationships compared to our close fellowship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. (Psalm 119:63) Those who choose to seek the Lord’s Wisdom concerning friendships and walk in righteousness will have many friends. (Proverbs 11:30) God will bless you in your friendships and relationships when they are modeled after the Lord’s Example of Love. Yes, we are to lay down our life for our friends but not our salvation.
Genesis 5:23-24 (NLT)
Enoch lived 365 years walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.
Enoch lived 365 years walking in close fellowship with God. Can we make 365 days living in close fellowship with the Lord? I have read this account many times and only today realized the revelation in this scripture. God does not desire a relationship with His People that equates to 52 days or a maximum of 104. One out of seven days or two at the most is not a friendship, but merely an acquaintance. Consider Noah who also was noted to live in “close fellowship” with God as a righteous man. Outside of righteousness, no one can walk in close proximity to God. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His Throne. For Him to accept us living in the corruption of sin would be contrary to His Will, His Way and His Word compromising the Truth altogether. Why would God want those who trample the Blood of Jesus Christ and blaspheme His Spirit by taking the Word and twisting it to make their life acceptable be welcome in the Presence of the Loving Father of our Lord and Savior? Consider this: if one of your children was in a horrific accident and committed to be an organ donor – how would feel about the one who got their heart living in obesity with diabetes because of a careless lifestyle doing nothing with the new lease on life given them? Or what if the person with new lungs was a chain smoker? What if the person with the new liver continued to be an alcoholic destroying the new organ given at the expense of your child’s life? If it were my own child, I would be enraged and angered at such a thing and I believe you would be, too. Each second chance taken for granted, yet I had no power to change the poor choices of others. What would you do? Why would God think any less of trampled grace at the expense of His Son? To choose righteousness and live in close fellowship with God requires honoring the sacrificial offering of His Son, Jesus and living as a friend of God first. Then we must choose our relationships according to our friendship with God always keeping our commitment to the Lord as the basis of all relationships in the future. How many days of your week are committed to your friendship with God? Is your relationship to Jesus Christ the foundation of all other unions in your life?
I Samuel 20:14-17 (NLT)
And may you treat me with the faithful love of the LORD as long as I live. But if I die, treat my family with this faithful love, even when the LORD destroys all your enemies from the face of the earth.” So Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, saying, “May the LORD destroy all your enemies!” And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself.
Jonathan and David would be the picture of best friends in the Bible. When their friendship was threatened by King Saul, they came up with an elaborate plan to determine the king’s intentions concerning David. The words of this friendship pact make it clear that they considered the Lord as a primary member of their relationship. “May you treat me with the faithful love of the Lord…” All of our friendships should be formed and channeled through our Love for God and commitment to righteousness. Salvation is the moment that all that we are and all that we know is rerouted through the Blood of Jesus. Some things will make the cut and others will not. Some people will support our salvation and others will not. Our entire life is now evaluated from an Eternal perspective formed on a foundation of faith and leading to confident hope. It is the direction that we are heading and not turning back some people will choose not to follow. Keep walking. Do not turn back. Is it time to reevaluate our fellowship with the Lord? Maybe it is time to reaffirm our friendship with God? Close fellowship is a friendly relationship of constant communion. We share a community of interest and desire to know who God is and what He is all about. Our life will become a testament of our friendship and love no longer will we be ashamed of the Gospel because it is an opportunity to brag on our best friend who we know intimately and personally and more importantly who knows us!
Job 2:11-13 (NLT)
When three of Job’s friends heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him. Their names were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.
When tragedy struck the life of Job, his three closest friends came to support their friend in great loss and devastation. It all begins as one would expect. They had compassion on their buddy and wanted to be there for him. When they arrived, Job’s grief had consumed him and they barely recognized him. And so they tore their robes, threw dust on their heads and joined him in his grief. No one said anything to Job, just stayed with him. Everything is going good so far until they decided it was time to move on and began to put their two cents in. Think about your closest friends right now. If put in a situation of great grief and despair who would come and be there? If you are going through circumstances in your life with many troubles, who is there?
Job 42:7-8 (NLT)
After the LORD had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has. So take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.”
By the end of the Book of Job, God AND Job are angry with these three friends. In the beginning, they were Job’s comforters but their lack luster relationship with God and their unfair evaluation of Job gave way to allowing the enemy’s influence to overtake them. Having gone through many trials in life as a believer and nonbeliever, I must agree that in the heat of the fire is when friendship is tested. It is important to choose your friends wisely. You must decide who is worthy of your heart. Those who do not have a close relationship with God should not be allowed to touch you like that because they will not protect you the way that the Lord has intended or demonstrated. They want you to get over it and move on. Own up to your sin. Get on with your life. There was a young woman whose husband was led astray by the enemy. She was a relatively new Christian, but heard God’s Voice telling her to wait for her husband’s return. Her friends supported this decision in the beginning but over time even many mature Christians told her to move on. She held her ground. When her husband did return (Praise God), new wisdom made her very careful about who she told the wonderful news as they began to mend the pieces of their broken life in the Presence of God. A close friend of hers was very upset that she had not been told about the reunion and wondered why she did not tell the world what God had done. The same person began to relent about the impending failure that would come as trust was irrevocably broken and it was her experience that it could NEVER be regained. Whoa! You have your answer right there. We must be wise in our friendships and not shrewd. The only relationship in our life with the power of unconditional love, unending grace, new mercy and overflowing joy is with Jesus Christ. The only people that can demonstrate such a friendship are those who choose to be a Friend of God and then a friend with people.
Job 42:10-11 (NLT)
When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before! Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the LORD had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring.
God desires His People to have friendship. God will bless you in those friendships. When Job prayed for His Friends without any expectation from them only expectation from the Lord, his fortunes were restored and he received double for his trouble. If you will make your relationship with Jesus Christ a 365-day fellowship and make the Lord your best friend, you will benefit from every other relationship in your life. Do not expect your friends to do for you what Jesus did for you! Lay down your life for your friends because that is what the Lord expects from you! But expect the Goodness of the Lord and His Very Best and now you are operating in the Favor of God. You are His Friend by faith and everything else is counted as joy!
Psalm 25:11-4 (NLT)
For the honor of your name, O LORD, forgive my many, many sins. Who are those who fear the LORD? He will show them the path they should choose. They will live in prosperity, and their children will inherit the land. The LORD is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant.
Do you have “church” friends? If you do, it is a good chance that you are living a double life because you have friends for all occasions. I have some friends who only contact me when they are in trouble or searching for Jesus but when they are living in the world remain distant. The Lord is a friend to those who fear Him not by means of fright but respect. If you are a friend of God, it is reflected in how you live because you desire to remain in close fellowship with Him. Knowing that sin puts a barrier between you, you will live in such a way that if you come face-to-face with Him in a moment you can face him. I would not betray my husband. He is my friend. I act married whether I am with him or not because I love him and have given my life to him. So why would living in “close fellowship” with the Lord be any different? Do you live as though you are the Bride of Jesus Christ wherever you go and whatever you do 365 days a year? God will teach you to please him. After fifteen years together, I know what my husband likes and dislikes and choose to do the things that make him happy. He does the same things for me because we are committed to a lifelong relationship. Why would it be any different in an Eternal one?
Proverbs 27:17 (NLT) As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
When a cut does not heal properly, it must be reopened so it can sutured once again. It requires that the old scar and surrounding skin must be cut away and then re-approximated so the new tissue can mend together. The open wounds of the human heart cannot be healed by callous friendship that does not go deeper. It must be a relationship founded on the Word of God, walking in the Will of God, seeking the Way of God to be a friendship of sharpening. I have friends that will say what I want to hear in order to maintain the façade of friendship. But when I am going through something, I go to my closest friends who know the Word and more importantly are Friends of God. Real friends will lay down their life for you including telling you things you may not want to hear as long as it based on God’s Truth. Sometimes we avoid the Lord and His Spirit because His Word cuts to the heart of the matter. Our friendships must align with the Word of God to be effective and productive. “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” (Hebrews 4:12)
Psalm 55:12-14 (NLT)
It is not an enemy who taunts me—I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me—I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you—my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.
We expect our enemies to attack us, but seldom do we expect the attack of close friends who are used by the enemy of our souls in ignorance. Such encounters cut the human heart in pieces for easy consumption by your adversary. I rebuke the spirit of division in the church today and call forth “Jonathan and David” partnerships. We need each other in the Body of Christ to fulfill the mission of love we have been sent on. Friendships founded on the Word of God by people committed to the Lord 365-days will not end in failure but will thrive in God’s Favor. It begins by walking in close fellowship with God. Are your God’s Friend? Abraham was called such a man. When the Lord gave Abraham his heart’s desire then demanding the sacrifice of Isaac, Abraham did not hesitate because he knew God was his friend and trusted him with his precious boy. God is asking you today, “Do you trust me?” To be his friend will requires sacrificing the need for human affirmation, affection, acceptance and approval to purse righteousness and live in His Favor? I ask you, “Do you trust Him like that?” God invites you to embark in the most passionate love affair of all time. His Love will consume you! He wants to be your friend. Your faith and actions must work together. You cannot love someone you do not trust. You will not follow anyone you do not trust. You will not trust someone you do not love. Gather the pieces of your heart that have been diversified looking for love and give them all to Jesus. He will mend your broken heart and allow you to give your life away expecting nothing in return because you are a Friend of God and have all you need already!
James 2:22-23 (NLT)
You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God.