On Sunday, Chet challenged us to examine the kind of friend we are to the people around us and the kind of friend we are to God. In 1 Samuel 18, we saw two kinds of relationships, and the contrast was clear: Jonathan and David vs. Saul and David. The difference between friends and enemies.
Our life principle this week is to “be a real friend.” It’s safe to say that the reality of our friendship with God will be reflected in the relationships with those around us. As I evaluated, I saw in myself several qualities of an enemy rather than a real friend. In James 4, James warns about the seriousness of our friendship with God versus our friendship with the world. In fact, James says the reason we fight and gossip is that our desires war within us: “You desire and you do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:2-4 ESV)
When I take my eyes off my friendship with Jesus, I start to get edgy—caring what people think and comparing myself spiritually. Yet scripture says that fear of man and protection of self will only make us at odds with the God who is in the business of lifting the lowly and not tearing them down.
1 John 3:16 reveals the standard of real love: “By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” Jesus, our friend, loves with a love that is unconditional. But if we are being honest, how conditional is the love we often extend? Maybe you’ll want to answer for yourself these questions:
Do I still love people when they don’t love me back?
Do I give myself for people who are different than I am?
When Jesus tells me to do something I don’t like or understand, do I distance myself our Friendship?
Have I committed to love God and people no matter what it costs me?
Saul had lost God’s anointing, but we have total security because we are a chosen generation (1 Peter 2:9-10). Therefore, we can give ourselves completely for the sake of others.
Our challenge to change this week is to reach out to a friend and be a real companion. But I believe we can go even further—“Find someone you think is wrong, someone you disagree with, someone who isn’t like you at all, and decide to love that person the way you want Jesus to love you…” (Bob Goff, Everybody Always)
The Lord knew David would face many enemies and so He gave him Jonathan, a soul-knit kind of connection. How will the Lord love someone through your friendship with them this week?
Michelle Townsley is a young adult devoted t o loving Jesus and loving people. A current staff member at Coast Hills, her passion is to “present everyone mature in Christ” whether through women’s discipleship in high school ministry, with young adults at Patmos: Reality Discipleship, or through communications and the written word. Michelle loves ministry, summer camp, and basketball in that order.