“For He is our Friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
As we draw near to the first Sunday of August, which some countries observe as Friendship day, I would also want us all to see ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus’. I used to write one-liners on social and personal issues and one of those is – A Friend is Free till the End. The worldly friends that we talk about and the way they behave is little different from what our God tells the kind of friends He treats us to be. We so easily address a person as our Friend – whom we had just known or seen or talked to. They should be rightly called acquaintances. But a Friend is much more, a person who steps in when everyone in your life steps out. For He chose to step into this world to lay down His life for us when we were unworthy, utterly lost and hopeless. The Bible describes our relationship with God in many ways, like a Father – Son; Bridegroom – Bride; Shepherd – Flock; King – Servants; Vinedresser – Vine branches and many more. But this relation is a little peculiar in that the relation is of the same level – “Friend – Friend” and in the sense that we accept His Love for us and obey His ways. For Jesus said – “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14). John the Baptist rightly knew that he was the friend of the Bridegroom and that he has to decrease and Christ has to increase. (John 3:30). If we are really His friends we would speak to others much of Him and less of us. Christ addressed Judas Iscariot as a friend when He lent out His hand for the last time to him, for He was ready to die for him and tried to remind Him that He is not his enemy but his friend, but Judas chose to ignore that! (John 15:13) Let us not turn a blind eye to His calling but accept His Love for us. Abraham was called the Friend of God (James 2:23). Few stand-out qualities exhibited by Abraham that God wants in His friends – When Abram was called out of his country by God and directed to leave his family and country and go out, he did leave and go. He obeyed His commands without delay and stepped out in Faith! Even when He was aged, still He never wavered in His faith but held on to the promise of God. So when God was getting ready to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, God Himself says “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing” (Genesis 18:17). And we know that God did not just want to inform Abraham, but wanted him to share His burden and stand in the gap for the dying people. And so did Abraham intercede for Lot and his family. Likewise, God wants us to be His friends so that you and I can accept and share His burden for the lost and dying world.