Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Circles of Confidence part II

The god mostly pray in touch the legs in heart...

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Friends of Christ

No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 (HCSB)

Before we look at some of the friends of Christ I want to examine his teaching on friendship.  At the heart of friendship is a love that is sacrificial.  Without sacrificial love there can be no greater confidence and intimacy has reached its limit.  There are people who can live this way.  They have enough confidence in humanity to accomplish particular tasks (eg fellow workers), but they never go beyond.  Their circle of confidence never allows for others to come near them.  In doing this they protect themselves from being hurt.  However they tend to live lives of isolation and loneliness. 

You are My friends if you do what I command you.
John 15:14 (HCSB)

This verse can have double application I believe.  Jesus' is clearly saying when we love with a sacrificial love then we are His friends.  I think by implication when we do not love this way then we are not acting like friends of Jesus.  The other application I believe is that a friend will fulfill the request of another friend.  Don't get me wrong we must hold Jesus in higher regard than other friends, but if a friend asks you to do something and you do not do it then how is it that person is your friend.  In this way it seems to me that most friendships are killed by neglect and not by angry actions. When what we do does not match up with what we say or believe then we lack integrity.  This lack of integrity is destructive to relationships.  For example, If I say I believe in the Grace and Forgiveness of God, but I do not treat others graciously or in a forgiving manner then I lack integrity and people will question and/or reject my friendship and I am rejected by God (See Matthew 18:32-35). 

...I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father.
John 15:15 (HCSB)

A friend is a person that shares important parts of what they know.  Openness is a good measure of friendships.  When a person starts to withhold information from another then friendships wither.  A lack of openness usually is a good measure of a lack of confidence.  This lack of confidence can be in certain areas of the relationship.  For example I may have high confidence that a friend will help me with a job around the house, but low confidence that they could help me with a emotional problem.  That is OK.  We will see that Jesus had fewer people that He put higher confidence in than those who were simply His friends.  So varying degrees of confidence is not a bad thing in itself. 

In this Jesus is making known to his friends what He is hearing from our Heavenly Father.  We to can make intimate things know about our relationship with God as well as intimate part of our lives.  As our confidence grows then so does our ability to be intimate in our relationships.  Jesus did not do this with everyone though.  In the same manner we need to discern who is a friend and who is not. 

You did not choose Me, but I chose you...
John 15:16 (HCSB)

Here we can again see a double meaning in this passage.  Jesus is saying that he chose His friends to be the continuation of His ministry here on earth.  His friends were going to establish the Church and tell others about the Good News of Salvation through Christ.  It also says that Jesus chose His friends.  In the same manner we to should choose our friends.  All to often people let others to choose them as friends.  Sometimes they are lucky and other times not so.  Keeping your eyes open and paying attention to how people talk about other, how they treat others, and to a certain extent trusting your convictions is a good way to discern who would be a good friend. 

In short then Jesus teaches that friendship involves sacrificial love, willingness to do things that a friend asks, openness, and a choice (discernment) of friends.  God willing I will look at the people that were friends of Christ.  God Bless You.

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