John 15:15, ESV

     I Am a Friend of God.  Such is not only a personal statement but the title of a popular Christian song.  The song has a strong basis for its claim.  “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends” (John 15:15, ESV).

     Jesus’ words are remarkable when one considers to whom they were initially addressed.  Jesus spoke directly to Peter whom Jesus predicted would deny knowing him.  John and James were also in the audience, even though the two men reportedly cared more about what Jesus could do to enhance their status than their relationship with Jesus.  Jesus even included Judas within his friendship circle, though Judas would later betray Jesus into the hands of his enemies.

     None of these persons were singled out because of their personal integrity or because Jesus found them to be highly skilled.  Pastor and author, Eugene Peterson, claims that a friend is more about a relationship than a function.  The highest form of friendship seeks out a relationship with others, not because of what they can do for us but for who they are.  Most people find it offensive when others vie for their friendship for the sake of social prestige or economic advantage.  Who can blame them?

     Friends remember birthdays.  Friends call simply for the joy of conversation.  Friends rarely accomplish anything concrete but to cherish and value one another.

     Jesus best demonstrated what true friendship looks like.  True friends forgive one another when an offense is committed.  True friends never quit even when their counterparts act unfriendly.  True friends love at all times and in all circumstances.

     I genuinely like the idea of being God’s friend yet imitation is the greatest form of flattery.  The best way I can honor my friendship with God is to befriend others by employing Christ’s example.  May it be so with you, as well!