John 15:14-15 (New Living Translation) "You are My friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves. Now you are My friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me."
Above all the descriptive words that come to my mind when I think of Jesus, beyond the "Holy", and "mighty", and "awesome", and "glorious", and on and on and on, the one that grips my heart and wrenches my soul is to hear Jesus Himself say to us, "friend".
Jesus chooses to push aside all the accolades and honors and titles, and just be our friend. One who has an affinity for us and for our lives. One who is interested in knowing what our interests, hopes, and dreams are. One who wants to see God's best in us be exuded from our souls. One who would even die for us, so we would be made right with an almighty God, and have a hope of eternity with Him, even with all of our own faults and shortcomings.
He shows us that He doesn't want a religion, as much as He wants a RELATIONSHIP with us! And on top of all that, He tells us all that we need to know--there's no "secret handshakes" or odd routines to appease Him. It's plainly out there for us to see and do! He just wants us to be His friend!
On one of the walls in the lobby of my work place is a poster. On the poster, it asks, "How many friends would you still have left, if you started spending as much time with them, as you do with GOD?"
Jesus simply says, "You are My friends if you do what I command." Time truly is an indicator of how much I value that friendship with Jesu. How can I know what the commands of Jesus are if I don't spend time in His word, and speaking to Him in the quiet of my soul in prayer? Am I allowing myself to become "too busy" to sit and listen with my heart as I read His word? And most of all, do I do what He asks and commands me, or do I side-step His orders for my own will, and my own intentions?
As I think about this and repent for the times I've rejected His friendship, I can only be so grateful that we have such a merciful Lord who so often, as He has with so many of His other friends, tells me to "repent, and sin no more", and, "Love each other in the same way that I love you."
I strive every day to carry out that command. It's the very least I can do for my Lord, my Savior, and my Friend.
LORD Jesus, thank You for being my friend. Teach me and grow me, every time I sit with You and listen, and be patient with me every time I ramble on in my prayers to You. I hope to be just like You some day when I grow up.
I love You, Jesus! Amen.