It’s no secret I like to have friends. Doesn’t everyone?
I think we all crave relationships, from little on. From asking to borrow someone’s 64 box of crayons in Kindergarten to asking someone out for coffee on a Sunday afternoon, we like having people around us to count on, talk to, get encouragement from, go on trips with, etc. Friends are a part of our everyday life.
My husband laughs at me because he says I have 41 people who I call my best friend… which may be true. I genuinely just adore people and having others to experience life with. Everyday I am thankful to God for giving me friends with which to rejoice, to cry, to laugh, to experience life, to inspire, to uplift, and even to correct me when I’m wrong.
Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times.” So my answer to my husband is always, “Who wouldn’t want 41 best friends who love you at all times?”
I don’t think I could go a day without talking to at least 1 of my “41” best friends.
And yet there is a pain in friendship also. Maybe you know what I’m getting at.
Maybe you have a relationship too where there is just something missing? Possibly you’ve prayed over it, cried about it, or shied away from the elephant in the room that is staring you right in the face, blowing water out of its trunk at you? Maybe you too have a friend who does not know about the very best friendship one can have?
They don’t know about Jesus.
Now allow me to tell you a little bit about this Jesus, this perfect best friend, who is far above all of my other “41” best friends on the friendship scale.
- He will never leave you.
When you lose your way; you’re friends leave you hanging; you feel as though you’re all alone on this earthly journey; Jesus says to you, “I am with you always” Matthew 28:20.
- He does not throw judgment your way, but loves you for who you are.
When you’re ashamed of your past mistakes, you can’t even bare to think about the time you cheated on your boyfriend, or when you gave into peer pressure at that one party, and then it became an addiction, Jesus lifts up your head and says “[I] will again have compassion on you. [I] will tread your sins underfoot. [I] will hurl your iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19).
- He always keeps his promises.
When your friend backs out on your plans for the third time because ‘something just came up’, or you’re in an abusive relationship, but no one seems to have a safe place to offer you, or you lost your job and can’t find a new one even though your friends promised they’d recommend you to their boss, Jesus comes in and calms your fears with His promise “to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
But my dear friends, here’s one that can never be forgotten or overlooked - one attribute of our friend, Jesus, that no friend on this earth could ever possess.
- He has sacrificed everything for you.
Yes, YOU - the person who could dig a hole so deep and fill it up with all her mistakes and shortcomings, but the hole would need to be deeper still. He left heaven - a place with no sorrow, no pain, no fear, a place filled with peace, everlasting comfort, bliss beyond measure - to live on this earth for 33 years, to endure the pain we face everyday, to be abandoned by his friends, ridiculed by his enemies, beaten, spat on, tortured, and hung on a cross in front of many... to die.
Why? Because he loves you.
Did you catch that last word, “friends”? The perfect Son of God calls you his friend!
It is an honor to receive acknowledgement for something you accomplished. Maybe you were named valedictorian of your class? Maybe you won ‘Most Valuable Player’ on your sports team? Maybe you’ve received ‘Employee of the Month’ at your workplace?
Maybe it’s something even greater than those awards, but nothing, nothing, nothing can top being named, ‘Friend of Jesus’.
So then why, at times, do we shy away from sharing the gift of having the best friend ever with our earthly friends?
If it is the greatest honor we could ever receive, then why don’t we proclaim Him to the world?
We display our trophies and awards in our homes and offices, but when someone comes into our lives who doesn’t know Jesus, we brush the subject off to the side. We get scared that it might ruin our friendships, or we might be made fun of, or seen as Jesus freaks.
When we find a good restaurant, we tell our friends about it. When we go to a spectacular hotel, we make sure to recommend it to our loved ones. When we make a delicious meal, we share the recipe with those around us.
These are all wonderful things to share - but they pale in comparison to the gift we too often forget to share: Jesus, our very best friend.
Just like I want everyone I love to experience the tasty food and prime service of my favorite restaurants, how much more does my soul crave to spend eternity with my 41 best friends, and not only them, but everyone I meet?
I want my childhood neighbor who let me pick strawberries out of his garden to live in eternal peace with Jesus in heaven. I want my Spanish teacher in Ecuador to experience true joy in the presence of her Creator forever. I want my pen pal from 2nd grade who lived in China to know the embrace of her Heavenly Father without end.
We do not shy away from sharing our favorite things on this earth with our friends because we know they won’t persecute us for our opinions. Maybe they won’t enjoy the restaurant as much as we did, but that’s okay. To each his own, right?
It’s not that way with Jesus, though.
There is no opinion that factors into faith. There is only one true, correct answer.
Jesus, out of his perfect love for you, freely and willingly gave up his life so that you would never have to know the depths of hell or eternal punishment. His death and resurrection gives you a sure hope, the ultimate certainty that you will live forever in heaven with Him, no questions asked, no opinions needed.
Out of my “41” best friends, yes there are a few who don’t have a relationship with Jesus. But you know what I say to that?
They don’t have a relationship with Jesus… yet. Not yet, but they will. How can I be so certain?
- John 14:14 “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
- John 15:7 “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
- Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
God wants you. He wants your friends. He wants your families. He wants the people you have never even met to be His best friends.
So the next time you’re with one of your friends, or all 41+ of them, say a little prayer for those friends. Here’s one that I like to say:
Dear Jesus, my very best friend,
You have given me blessings upon blessings with these people before me. May you give me strength to share you with them. Fill me with zeal to tell others about the good news that they have eternal peace and joy in you alone. Lord, open their hearts and work faith in them. I know that it is not my work, but yours. Use me as a tool to do your work, and help my friends to see that you are the best friend they could ever ask for. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this beautiful message with those I love. Amen.