Well, even though the next election is over a year away, the election season is in full swing, isn’t it? I don’t know how you feel, but it seems to me that it starts earlier and earlier every time anymore. It’s a phrase heard, not only during election cycles, but also in reference to most politicians anytime and will serve as my lead-in to today’s thoughts. That phrase is: “Friend(s) of _________.”
I’m going to take that phrase and attempt to derive a spiritual lesson from it for today’s editorial. If you think about it, it really has a deep meaning. A deep connotation to it. Both politically and spiritually. Let’s just think for a few minutes on the implications of that phrase.
Political-wise, what’s meant by being a “Friend of ______?” Well, usually it means the receipt of some future reward. In other words, I supported you, I’m in your group of “friends,” what will I get in return from you? Of course, that return depends upon how much money you gave or raised for you “Friend.”
It could amount to some high office in the administration or, in the case of many examples, accessibility to the regime and thus, some lucrative monetary benefit. Whatever it might turn out to be, you can be assured that at some level, you will receive a return on your “friendship.”
Let’s switch to the spiritual side of this little lesson. We sing an old song entitled “I’ll Be A Friend To Jesus.” Well, I’ll ask the same question: What does being a “Friend of Jesus” mean? Or: What does being a “Friend of Jesus” entail?
it’s obviously not the giving of some amount of temporal treasure. As opposed to the politicians, Jesus’ friendship cannot be bought. So then, how do we get to be a “Friend of Jesus?” Or, as we’ve seen in the parable ot the ten virgins (John 3:29), with the “Bridegroom” being Christ, allegorically speaking, how do we become a “Friend of the Bridegroom?”
The answer is astonishingly simple. He tells us Himself the qualifications for His “friendship.” In John 15:14 Jesus says: “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” How much more simple can you get?
However, there is one inferred codicil to that statement. One that speaks directly to the “deep meaning” of being a “Friend of Jesus.” And that is: doing what Jesus says means doing “all” that He commands. Doing everything He tells us to do. The necessary implication of that is, anything less takes us out of His circle of “friends.”
What I’m getting at here is, that we don’t get to set the parameters of His friendship. We don’t get to pick and choose “some” of His commands and ignore others. Like choosing to follow the ones we like, or don’t mind keeping, and skipping over the ones not convenient to our lifestyle.
And that leads me to another thought in this area. The selective choosing of which commands of Jesus we’d like to obey and which ones we’ll skip over, is exactly the way many in the world who claim to be religious, or claim “friendship” with Christ, operates.
I’m not the one condemning that practice, but the word of God certainly does and I can only refer you to something God said on this subject through the hand of James. If one believes that they can selectively obey the commands of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and still be a “Friend of Jesus” they’d best read with me the words of James 4:4. “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.”
Yes, being a “Friend of Jesus” has a great meaning. And in the realm of receiving a reward for being His “friend” we get the most wonderful return possible on our investment. We will live eternally with Him in glory. We’ll be a child of God, thus “joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17) in heaven. Which we’ll share with all of His “friends” from all ages and times.
And not will we just “be there.” We’ll receive a high office because of our “friendship” with Jesus. As evidence of what I just said, read with me the words of 2Tim. 11-12.
“The saying is trustworthy, for: if we have died with him, we will
also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him.”