Have you ever had a friend who let you down? Maybe it was a small disappointment, like an unanswered phone call. Or, maybe you’ve been intentionally betrayed; the recipient of vicious gossip or lies.
Like most, I’ve been hurt more than a few times. I’ve had “friends” who hung close when times were “fun” and easy, but disappeared when times turned tough. I’ve struggled through difficult friendships, where I eventually had to learn by necessity to draw boundaries. But I’ve often experienced some wonderful friendships along the way.
If you could describe the perfect friend, what character traits or qualities would you include?
At the top of my list, my perfect friend would be honest. I desperately need to hear truth when Satan whispers lies about my identity. Equally important, I need to hear truth if I’m in denial, to help me see reality when my focus gets skewed.
My perfect friend would be faithful to keep his promises, and I would know I could count on him in any situation; not necessarily to fix my problems on demand, but to walk with me through them, so I can live in peace, as I trust God more and more.
My perfect friend would show compassion when I struggle; when I feel discouraged or afraid. I would not worry that I am too needy or just too much trouble, because I would know he genuinely cares.
In the perfect friendship, I would relax and be myself, because I would know that I'm accepted unconditionally. I would never have to fear rejection, despite my flaws and failures. In fact, the perfect friend would see me not as I appear to be through the eyes of the world, but through the eyes of love.
At this point, you might be thinking,
“Get real! There is no such thing as the perfect friend. We all fall short.”
True. In the flesh, we do fail, and I must admit I’ve failed more times than I can count. But relying on God’s Spirit in us, we are empowered to love unconditionally. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27), is crucial to our walking in victory.
But, today, let's fix our eyes on the One who IS the Perfect Friend.
First and foremost, Jesus is trustworthy and true. (Revelations 19:11) He faithfully keeps His promises and never leads us wrong. When His Spirit whispers to our hearts, “this is the way…trust me,” we can know He is working out all things for our good, no matter what the circumstances. (Romans 8:28)
Second, Jesus is the incarnation of compassion. (Psalms 145:8) He cares deeply about what we are going through and pays attention to the details. After all, He knows every hair on our heads! He especially cares about the God-given desires of each one of our hearts. (Psalms 37:4)
Third, Jesus accepts us just as we are, and He loves us unconditionally. We don’t ever have to fear rejection again.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35,38,39
Finally, Jesus gave up His heavenly riches to enter a physical body; a body that experienced the same restrictions as ours. He suffered persecutions, false accusations, and physical pain, ultimately humiliated and tortured by the very people He came to save and died on the cross, so that we could know the full extent of His love.
While we were still sinners, Jesus died for us. (Romans 5:8)
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
He redeemed us from the curse of works-righteousness, by becoming a curse for us and making us righteous through the shedding of His own blood. (Galatians 3:13)
Jesus is our advocate and mediator. He is our redeemer, our rescuer, and our power to walk in victory. He came to heal us and gives us freedom from a life of striving in our own flesh. He gives us hope and joy amid our circumstances.
This same Jesus invites us into friendship. Searching the inner recesses of my mind, my words seem insufficient to express the magnitude of this reality. It is very difficult to wrap the mind, much less the heart around the concept that Jesus Christ, Lord and Creator of all things, chooses us. But He does!
He didn’t pick us for our flawless complexions or in vogue hairdos. He didn’t pick us because we are the most witty or clever. Our net worth by the world’s standards matters not to Him. He doesn’t care if we are CEOs of large corporations or stay at home moms; whether we have a doctorate degree in science, or whether we are homeless. Furthermore, Jesus doesn’t even choose us based on how well we uphold Scripture or how active we are in church ministry. We no longer must strive to measure up. His blood washes us clean, making us pure and complete.
Though He was rich, for our sake He became poor, so that we, through His poverty might become rich, and we are rich in deed! (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Jesus proclaims loud and clear: WE ARE HIS!
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you…” John 15:15-16a
As this TRUTH works its way deeper and deeper into our hearts, we begin to see others through the eyes of Love and we become the hands and feet of Jesus, loving others as He loves us. God is good!
If you would like to receive an e-mail link to my weekly blog, please enter your name and e-mail address below. And, as always, if you are encouraged, please share this blog with others and share the love. Have a wonderful week!
In Jesus Christ, my Perfect Friend,