Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Jesus, My Life-Giving Friend" By Kelli Zaniel

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

Do you think of Jesus as your friend? The good news is that Jesus wants to be your best friend. He wants you to receive Him and have a deep love relationship with Him as your closest friend. A friendship that will not just last for a season but for all eternity. Jesus said, “I no longer call you slaves, because a master does not confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father has told me” (John 15:15). This verse describes the new relationship we are privileged to have with Jesus. We are no longer a slave but a friend; no longer a stranger but a confidant; no longer unknown but known. What a friend we have in Jesus!

John chapter 17 reveals what a great friend Jesus was to his disciples. Jesus loved His friends; He prayed for His friends; He spent time with His friends; and he died for His friends (and enemies for that matter). As Jesus prepared the disciples for his departure from earth, He prayed that God would develop certain characteristics in his friends (the disciples) and “in those who will ever believe,” (that’s us)! Jesus prayed the following prayer for His past, present and future friends:

That they would come to know God;
That God would protect them from temptation and the evil one;
That they would be sanctified by God’s truth (the follower of Christ becomes sanctified or cleansed by believing and obeying the word of God);
For God to reveal himself to His friends through His Word for it is truth; and
That they will be one just like [God and Jesus] are one.

The last part of Jesus’ prayer for His friends is my favorite. Jesus said, “I love my friends and I want them to be with me.” Do you believe that Jesus feels that way about you too? He does! Do you believe that Jesus prayed that prayer for you personally? He did! He loves you and wants to be with you no matter how many times you said, “no,” to Him. No matter how many times you walked away from Him. No matter how many times you tried to find peace outside of His will. He loves you even in the midst of your “mess-ups!”

I like to picture Jesus walking along side me as I journey through life. He listens intently to my heartbreaks; He reassures me when I feel insecure; He forgives when no one else will; He speaks to my heart and offers great advice; He intercedes on my behalf; He wipes away my tears when my feelings are hurt; He provides hope when all hope is gone; and He rejoices when I walk in faith and trust in Him. My Jesus is never too busy for me; He never forgets my name; He never abandons me; He never talks badly behind my back. He is the truest and dearest friend I know.

Have you ever noticed that it is difficult to find true friends? We live in a world that is lonely and isolated. Magazine articles in your grocery store and billboards along the highway all advocate independence and the “do it yourself,” attitude. Even my two year old, who has a very limited vocabulary, fusses and shouts, “I can do it myself!” This attitude seems to unplug us from the rest of the world. We, as a society, have lost our daily connection with one another. We drive to work alone in our car, work all day in our office or three-sided cubicle, get cash and stamps at the ATM, enjoy internet chatting, and spend the night watching TV. No wonder we all feel desperately alone sometimes.

Ninety-two percent of Christians attending a recent Bible conference admitted in a survey that feelings of loneliness were a major problem in their lives (“The Search for Significance,” Robert McGee). We need relationships. Most importantly, we need the kind of relationship only Christ can provide.

The disciples witnessed the most incredible sacrifice a friend can make: to give his own life for a friend (John 15:13). I cannot imagine dying for a friend much less an enemy. But that is exactly what Jesus did. Jesus died for you and me, because He considered us to be His friends.

God calls us to himself to develop in us a Christ like character. Once we get to know Him and spend time with Him, we will become more like Him. Then we will begin to look like Jesus to our friends. Then we will be able to pray for our friends the way Jesus prayed for His. When I meet Jesus face to face I want to hear Him say, I know Kelli Zaniel. I have a relationship with her. She is a good friend of mine!

Application for your week
Truths to claim if we are friends and servants of Jesus:
We will find him (Prov. 8:17);
We have the Spirit in us (Is. 42:1);
We have our needs met (Phil. 4:19);
We will hear Him and find Him (John 12:26);
We will see Him (Prov. 8:34);
We will be complete (Col. 1:28);
We will be strong (2 Cor. 12:9);
He will call us by name (Is. 43:1); and
We will stand firm in the will of God (Col. 4:12).

1 comment:

  1. I'm so grateful to be a friend to Jesus! I don't always understand why wants to be my friend sometimes, but I still believe it! I'm also grateful for you Kelli, the beautiful friend that God gave to me... I see the reflection in Jesus in everything you do! I love the weeks application scriptures... his promises to us, his friends, are many and magnificent... reminders that are the air I breath!