Bible Ballistics: Vol. 7 No. 24 Not Everyone Is Your Friend!!!
Scripture teaches us that “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother”(Proverbs 18:24b); and Jesus, Himself, talked about a real friend:
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants: for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” John 15:13-15
Jesus laid down His life for us because He loves us—He loved us before we ever knew Him. God is the initiator of life, love and salvation!!!
“Hereby perceive we the love of God,
because he laid down his life for us;
and we ought to lay down our lives
for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16
“In this was manifested the love of God
because that God sent his only begotten Son
into the world,
that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love,
not that we loved God,
but that he loved us,
and sent his Son
to be the propitiation for our sins.
if God so loved us,
we ought also
to love one another.” 1 John 4:9-11
God loves us so much that He sent Jesus the Son (His only begotten son, the second person of the “tri-unity”—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—each distinct yet three in one. Each God, all three God, always in unity yet distinct in their functions and interactions with mankind) to live in this flesh, experience humanity without sin, die in our place and defeat sin, death and hell on the cross and His resurrection. Praise God for such amazing love that we can’t live without—either in this life or the life hereafter! What love He has for us, and when we know Him, He puts His love within us—it’s the supernatural work of salvation that God does in us.
“He came unto His own,
and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him,
to them gave he power
to become the sons of God,
even to them
that believe on his name:
13 Which were born,
not of blood,
nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man,
but of God.” John 1:11-13
Jesus calls us to be His servant, but when we come, He makes us His friends, and He even makes us His children as His Spirit imparts the “love of God” into our very hearts.
“Therefore being justified by faith,
we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access
into this grace
wherein we stand,
and rejoice in hope
of the glory of God.
3 And not only so
but we glory in tribulations also:
knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience;
and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed;
because the love of God
is shed abroad in our hearts
by the Holy Ghost
which is given unto us.” Romans 5:1-5
When we receive the love of God within our hearts, He continually conforms us into the image of the Son by the work of the Holy Spirit in us! God’s love makes a difference in us—a difference that the world should see. The world should see the “love of God” in us—in our daily walk, in all we do and say—every day and in every way. A tall order but we serve the “life-changing” God who saves, redeems and conforms us “into the image of His Son” (See Romans 8:28-29), so it’s by HIS power not our own. But what does that love look like? John helps us understand what “God’s love” looks like.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” 1 John 4:18-21
We are to love God, and our “neighbor” as Jesus told us in the parable of the “Good Samaritan”. We are to be a reflection of the “love of God” in both word and deed. And that brings me to the question, “Who Is Your Friend?” Jesus wants to be your friend, but there are those who come into our lives who are truly NOT a friend, and God gives some great advise for discernment in this arena, we can learn the things that God says are necessary to His blessing in our lives—and it has a lot to do with our choice of friends.
“Blessed is the man
that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor standeth in the way of sinners,
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree
planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither;
and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so:
but are like the chaff
which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly
shall not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous:
but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” Psalm 1
God tells us the things we are to cling to and what things we are to avoid—what brings blessings and what will bring the condemnation and wrath of God. But the choice is ours.
To be blessed we must:
Walk not with the ungodly—
Stand not with the sinners—
Sit not with the scornful—
And don’t miss the progression of the walk away from God; a walk that is against God and will not be blessed:
It starts with a walk—the company we keep casually.
Then standing—a continued delight in and with “SIN”.
Finally sitting—joining with those against God.
(For more insight on this progression read Romans 1)
But the righteous person, the one who wants a walk with God, avoids those activities and people (Not failing to share the light with those in the dark, but standing firm in the “light” and not “getting used to the dark”!) This walk also has some positives, and the righteous, godly person will:
Delight in the law of God—His Word and His Ways—
Meditate in the law of God—Day and Night—
And the result is amazing—
He shall be like a tree by the water—
He will bring forth fruit in the right season—
His leaf shall not wither—
Whatsoever He does will prosper!
(It doesn’t say that we will prosper financially, but that our work for the Lord will prosper—bear fruit–)
The Psalm goes on to make a contrast with the “UN”godly. There are only two choices—God’s way or your own, and the results are directly connected to the choice we make. Jesus also gave us a most concise picture of the difference.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate:
for wide is the gate,
and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat:
strait is the gate,
and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
The choice is simple, destruction or life? Popularity or truth? Will you be among the “many” or the “few”? Will you walk with the “godly” or the “UN-godly”? Your friends can affect what you do and where you go! They can lift you up or drag you down.
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” I Corinthians 15:33
“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
Are we being a friend to those God sends our way? Are we being the friend who leads people to God, or are we being led astray by those we have chosen to associate with? God calls us to be salt and light in a world of corruption—are we willing to pay the price to be a useable vessel for The Lord? Simply put, that means seeking God first, serving others second and trusting the results to our God! Matthew 6:31-34 says:
“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: ) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
So look around and check out who and what is influencing you. Are you being a friend of God? Or a friend of the world? As Jesus said “no man can serve two masters….” And remember not everyone is your friend!
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends…”
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep….15 ……I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:11 & 15b
“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” John 15:17-18
Have you trusted your life to the one who gave HIS life for you? He is the best friend I have now, or ever have had- and I have some wonderful soul mate friends- but Jesus is the best friend of all. If you know Him, focus on Him and His Word and trust all your ways to Him. If you don’t know Him, then call on Him and He will hear and meet you where you are. Jesus Himself said in Revelation 3:20:
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me.”
He IS that friend who sticks “closer than a brother”, and He died for YOU!!! Have you opened the “door”?