Saturday, April 19, 2014

What Kind of Friend Are You?

Ugh.      Suffering.     Suffering sucks.
We have all been through seasons of it. Other seasons are ones of blessing and in those, we have opportunity to prepare for our future sufferings.

Some of my friends are suffering right different ways. They are hurting...some physically some emotionally...some both. I hurt for them. My hurt for them, you will see, is of God.

I'm going to go ahead and admit that I am not full of compassion for others. I want to be compassionate, but it's definitely not a strength of least, it hasn't been. I absolutely have had moments of it in my life (obviously works of God in me) for a hurting friend or family member, but just in general, I wouldn't describe myself as a compassionate person. But, I'm a Christian. I'm supposed to be!
FAIL. But, isn't that the point?! I fail. I fail badly.
But...Jesus is perfect!! The Holy Spirit in me moves in my soul to do things I can't move it to do.
Jesus IS compassionate.
He cares about us and knows the pain that we all experience at times. In fact...
He laid down His life for us.
Jesus is a friend to sinners. So dang...He's definitely a friend to me.

Jesus said in John 15:12-14...

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 
You are my friends if you do what I command you.

We so often think of "laying down our lives" for another as dying....maybe dying to protect someone. It can certainly mean that, but it isn't very likely many of us will ever have to do that. I was reading these verses recently and I realized that elsewhere in the Bible, when it talks about us "dying" to ourselves (Galatians 2:20) and considering others more significant than ourselves (Phil 2:3), it's really talking about us putting others needs before our own self-interest, so these verses about laying down my life for my friends are not only about, literally, physically, dying for them. They're also about dying to myself for the needs of others. If there is no greater love than this, I want to follow in the footsteps of my Jesus.
We have to put our own desires to death to live for the desires of the King. 

Right now, through the suffering of my friends, the Lord is strengthening His compassion within me. He is teaching me how to love and serve those in need. I love these women and hate seeing them suffer. I have been blessed to see the body of Christ (the church) step up to care for them in different ways (caring for kids/taking meals/keeping company/giving counsel/encouraging/running errands for them/advocating for them). I want to be available to serve however he will allow. I want to have great love for these ladies...laying myself down for their good.
I want to be a good friend. Jesus in me has been bringing about love for others, compassion for others, and a desire to die to myself for others, but wow...the Holy Spirit has SO much work to do in my heart, but I'm so grateful He is working on this weakness and giving me clear opportunity.

Do you love you friends? 
Do you lay down your life for your friends? 
Do you have good friends?

...things to consider?...things to change?

Maybe you are a good friend! Maybe you readily put your desires to death and serve others. Then, the question for you is...Do you let your friends love you when you're in need?

In John 15:14 (above), Jesus said...

You are my friends if you do what I command you.

I want to be a friend of Jesus!!!

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