Re:Verse reading— 1 Samuel 20:1-17, 30-42 (day six)
The Gospel is not idle in our life; it shouldn’t be. Its affect is not a one time happening; by the power of the Spirit of God in the believer’s life, it is ongoing, always transforming, bearing fruit in an otherwise desert of a life. We know that to be true, but isn’t always our experience, is it? We wonder, “Why do I struggle so with the same thing over and over?” Or, “Why am I not more faithful to seek God each day?”
What if in God’s economy of sanctification he has chosen the pathway of true Gospel friendship? What if our transformation, or overcoming, requires the attention of a someone who is knit to our soul (like Jonathan to David)? Even more, what if your friend’s sanctification requires a gutsy friendship you are called to provide?
Sometimes we lament that we don’t have a Jonathan in our life, when the whole time God is expecting us not to wait, but take the initiative to be a Jonathan to someone in need.
Re:Verse Passage – John 15:9-17 (day six)
This is an important question: what is the basis of our friendship with Jesus? Are we friends because we obey His commands? Do we earn Jesus’ friendship because of our meritorious behavior? Sometimes we can behave as if this is true. We lapse in our worship attendance, so we think, “If I return to worship I will find favor with God again”, or “If I get a few quiet times under my belt then Jesus will like me.”
That is not the Gospel; it’s heresy. We are friends because Christ first loved us (vs. 12) by laying down his life; we are friends because of His work, not ours. Obedience then is not the condition of friendship but the affirmation or confirmation of our friendship with Jesus.
Listen, you don’t have to earn Jesus’ love or His friendship; He has already loved you, He died on the cross for you. The cure for disobedience is not trying harder, but repentance and returning to your first love or remaining in His love; believing in the work of Jesus through which he calls you friend. We always obey whom (or what) we believe; believe in Jesus!
Jonathan and David’s friendship only leads me to ask many questions about my own. What should friendship between men even look like? How do we love one another? Is David and Jonathan unique, or does God intend for all of us to have such a friend or friends? Given how busy we are, is this even realistic? How can I get to a place where I am more comfortable sharing my struggles and hopes with another man? Do I even need that type of friendship? Does God want me to be that friend for someone else? Have I ever even approximated a friendship like David and Jonathan’s?
Lots of questions; for some the answers comes easy. I do know that God wants us to have good friends; to share life with good people, who will help us and do us no harm. In many ways I think I only scratch the surface of true friendship, but I am eager and willing learn how to be the kind of friend I need to be.