One of the popular text-messaging abbreviations today is BFF. It stands for “best friend forever” and designates a person with whom one has had a long-term or life-long relationship. BFFs are those who stand by their friends through thick and thin, and can be depended upon in every situation that might arise. Not everyone has a BFF, and some of us may think we don’t need one, but there is no question that those who do have BFFs are blessed.
Friendship is an important part of life, at whatever level we may experience it. It is part of our DNA, as it were. We are social creatures who need and crave interaction with others, especially those who share similar interests. The primary basis of friendship is what we often describe as the “give and take” of it. Friendships are founded and maintained by the exchange of good things within that friendship. This exchange might include actual gifts and such, but is more often demonstrated in acceptance, encouragement, consolation in times of loss, and personal involvement in each other’s lives. To be a friendship, however, both parties must do these things.
Sometimes we sing a song in worship entitled, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” This hymn is primarily focused on the importance of prayer, but there is no question that we have no friend like our Lord and Savior. He has never failed us and will never fail us in time of need. He has never done and will never do anything to hurt us or to discourage us. He is the epitome of what a friend should be in every sense of the word.
The greatest demonstration of the Lord’s friendship for us is His death on the cross to pay the debt for our sins. On the night of His betrayal He told the apostles, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). Then, the very next day, He did exactly that. He who knew no sin, went to the cross and bore the sins of all mankind for all time on His own shoulders. He suffered excruciating physical pain, and the unbelievable spiritual anguish of being separated from His Father, so we might have the hope of eternal life in His name. Even the soldier whose life was spared by a comrade sacrificing his own life on the battlefield has not had a friend like this.
We understand that friendship requires actions on the part of both parties, and our friendship with the Lord is no exception. The Lord Himself dictated what He requires in order for us to be His friends. In Jn. 15:14 He said, “You are My friends if you do what I command you.” Earlier the same evening in which He said these words, the Lord also said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (Jn. 14:15). Thus, we see that for us to be friends with Jesus, we must obey His commands.
This makes sense, of course, because it is impossible to be friends with those of opposing points of view. We recognize and practice this in our human friendships, and have no qualms about doing so. How much more so, then, in spiritual matters? In Jas. 4:4 the scripture says that friendship with the world is hostility toward God. We cannot be on good terms with worldly things and still be friends with the Lord because the two are diametrically opposed to each other. Only one can be our friend, and we must choose who that friend will be.
The choice should be an easy one, for friendship with the world cannot offer us what friendship with the Lord does. The world has done nothing, and can do nothing, for our eternal good. The Lord, however, gave His life to be our Savior and friend. Because of this we can truly say, “What a friend we have in Jesus!” How can we reject such friendship?