by Julie Bruce
Did you know that Jesus calls us (Christians) his friend?
In John 15:15, Jesus says to his disciples, “I have called you friends…” Before salvation we are slaves to our sin; but at the moment of salvation, because of His grace and forgiveness, He brings you into His most intimate circle and calls you friend. When we accept Christ, He removes the title of slave and we are no longer His enemy, separated from God. Just what kind of friend is Jesus?
Generally, we have friendships on different levels. He isn’t an acquaintance that says “hello,” shakes your hand and says, “Nice to see you,” then goes their way without another thought about you until your paths cross once again. He isn’t the friend who sees your number on caller-id and silences the ringer because he doesn’t have time for you right now. He isn’t the like the friend who never tells you what is going on in their lives. He isn’t a social-media friend that likes or shares your posts, but has never met you. He isn’t like a Facebook-game friend that sends you all your requests so you can advance in the game called life. He is not an impersonal friend.
The Greek word for friend in John 15:15 is philos which can mean dear friend and gives the idea of being fond of a person (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible). He’s the kind of friend that pulls you in for a big bear hub no matter how long it’s been since you last connected with Him. He’s the kind of friend that lets you in on His plans and he hides nothing from you. He’s the kind of friend you lean on when life gets tough and you don’t know what is going on or which direction to take. He’s the kind of friend who is always there regardless of the time of day or night and always there to listen as you talk through all your anxieties. He’s kind of friend who waits with open arms no matter how you may have hurt Him or walked away from Him. In fact, His incredible, unfathomable, steadfast love for me never runs out. His mercies are new every morning. It is impossible to out run or out sin God’s love and mercy. (Lamentations 3:22-23) Psalm 139:7-8 says, “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.
He knows each one of us personally, by name. Isaiah 43:1 says, “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you… “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” He calls your name and He is just waiting to spend time with you. James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” In Revelation 3:20, we read the words of Christ, “Behold! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
Yes! He calls us His friend and longs to spend time with us so that He can reveal His truth to you. Hebrews 10:16 — “I will put my laws on their hearts and write them on their minds.” 1 Timothy 2:3 – “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
As your friend, He wants to give you strength when you feel weak, and to calm you fears and anxieties. Isaiah 40:29 reminds us, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” And 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.
He also knows everything about us. What we are going through. Our hurts and sorrows. Our joys and accomplishments. He knows the things we think we can’t get through and the moments when we are soaring through life. Nothing escapes His notice. In Psalm 139:1-4, David writes, “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.” Even though he knows all that about me, he still loves me and calls me friend! In verses 17-18, David goes on to write, “How precious are your thought about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”
My friend, no matter what you face today…bad news, anxiety, illness, a difficult decision …Jesus is with you. Proverbs 18:24 says, “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” So even if it feels as if everyone around you…friend, family, coworkers, church members…turns against you, Jesus is there with His arms wide open. Run to him and feel His embrace!