Thursday, June 7, 2012

In Christ - I am a Friend of God

"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." John 15:14, 15

Joni and Friends Daily Devotional
November 18, 2010

“I love the way that Jesus was such close friends with John. Their friendship was intimate and powerful, close and sweet. While on earth, they were inseparable. John was the only man who stayed by the cross.

“I also love the way that Jesus was such close friends with Mary, sister of Martha. He deferred to her. Lavished accolades on her. He even memorialized her when she wiped His feet with her tears.

“When I look at these warm and intimate friendships, my heart fills with praise that Jesus was... a man. A man of flesh-and-blood reality. His heart felt the sting of sympathy. His eyes glowed with tenderness. His arms embraced. His lips smiled. His hands touched. Jesus was male!

“Jesus invited us to relate to Him as the Son of Man. And because He is fully man, we can relate to Jesus with affection and love. It would be hard to trust God if He were only Prime Mover, First Cause, or Source of All with no respect to gender. It would be impossible to love a Lord who is only some vague, hazy theological concept.

“The essence of Christianity is knowing Jesus Christ the Lord as Priest and King, Head and Husband, Shepherd and Life-giver. He is the cornerstone of the church; that is, His body and bride and building. Knowing the Son of Man in all these respects has a relational and affectional dimension - yes, we can love God, and yes, we can love a Man.

“Thank You that, as the Son of Man, You understand every human passion, You feel every hurt, and You sympathize with every tear. O, Jesus, may Your favor of friendship rest upon me.”

Friends are so important in our lives, aren’t they?  Knowing that someone else “has your back” – or that you have someone you can turn to with ANYTHING makes it easier to face the difficulties and challenges of life.  Choosing friends can be a challenge for some of us – we’ve been hurt – we’ve been betrayed – we’ve been the subject of gossip amongst the very people we would call “friend.”  It hurts – and our natural tendency is to withdraw and put up a protective barrier between ourselves and anyone else who might hurt us.  The sad thing, though, when we do this is that we rob ourselves of experiencing the wonderful benefits of connecting with someone else!  And – it can keep us from connecting with our very BEST Friend – Jesus!  When we project onto Him our fears about getting too close, we miss out on the sweet communion that is ours “in Him.”  All we’re left with then is religion - and a cold, empty feeling in our heart.  If you’ve put up that wall, my prayer for you is that you’ll take steps towards the One who will NEVER hurt you – the One who died for you – the One who is longing to be in an intimate relationship with you – the One who is your Forever Friend!  Sharon

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