Friday, October 30, 2015

Day 30: What does the Bible say? Part 5 {31 Days of Friendship}

For this last entry into the "What does the Bible Say about Friendship" miniseries in my #31daysoffriendship series for the Write 31 Days challenge, I would like to talk about Jesus.

When I was a child growing up in a Christian home and going to church, we sang many songs about Jesus being our friend. I'm not really sure I knew what it meant until I felt Him in a more real sense, in college and in sad times, when I was going through some of the situations I've described in this series with friendships, and during my parents' divorce.

The Gospels tell us about Jesus's disciples (there were 12), his closest friends or the "inner circle" of best friends (there were 3), Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha, and of course the group that traveled with Him and His disciples as he preached and taught about His Father (unnumbered and many were unnamed, but we know they were present).

There are many analyses out there about the friendship model Jesus set for us: have a circle of friends, a tighter circle of confidantes, an adopted family of friends. The list could go on and on. But I wonder sometimes if it isn't supposed to be that complicated.

Here is what Jesus says in John 15:

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 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. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
Love first. Love God first, then love each other, and joy will abound. Pretty simple.

This is my last Bible-related post, and it's going to be online late after a busy week. So maybe as I write this with a tired brain and a full heart, I'm feeling a bit sentimental about ending this series on my blog about friendship. I wonder if we worry about friendships too much. Maybe we need to spend more of our time cultivating our friendship with Jesus, with His Father, more than with others first. If we let the friends be our primary focus, maybe that is missing the point. Let's put our focus on Jesus, and on learning God's Word, and cultivating that relationship first, before we worry about whether or not Jane* likes us or if we should invite her for coffee, or whatever. I know that the Lord will lead me where He wants me, and He has often placed people in my path (oh who am I kidding, every day I exit my house I talk to people outside my social circle!). He has provided me with friends before, and He will do so again. He already has for me here.

Tomorrow will be my wrap-up post about my friendship series. I hope you'll join me, and if you've enjoyed my musings on friendship, I hope you'll let me know - or better yet, share with one of your friends.

*Jane Austen nicknames are used in this series, and all month I never used Jane. So here she is!

Mini-series on What does the Bible Say about Friendship?
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

To read the introductory post for this #write31days series, click here.

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