Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Measure of Friendship

"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. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you."
John 15: 13-15

"A friend loves at all times,
   and a brother is born for adversity."

Proverbs 17:17

"By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, 
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers."
1 John 3:16

Biblically, friendship is defined by sacrifice. It is measured by what someone is willing to give up for the other. In both verses written by John, we see the utmost display of friendship is seen in the giving of ones life. From these criteria, we can see how Jesus is the ultimate friend. Here is a prayer that I wrote this morning.

Jesus, I praise and thank You for being the ultimate friend. You have unconditionally loved the loveless. You alone have loved me at all times. I confess to you Lord both my undeserving state of this friendship, and my self-justifying attempts to make myself appear worthy of this friendship. Yet, I rejoice in the truth that my union with You in completely contingent upon Your grace. You are the true friend, who at my very need your life did spend. And in what manner did you spend your life? You spent your life for me in the most extravagant way. For man or woman could lay down their life for me in order to preserve my temporal life here on earth, but only You could lay down your life in order to atone for my sins and to give me fullness of life. Jesus, you are the ultimate friend because you paid the ultimate cost. For you humbly left your glorious throne, you left your exalted position, and stooped down to my level. You saw your friends in dying need and you laid aside your glory, becoming man, being born in a manger, living among the filth which we caused, and died the death you didn't deserve, in order to save your friends. You have saved me from the ultimate adversity.There is no greater sacrifice. There is no greater friend. More so, you did not do so grudgingly, but out of gladness and joy. You are the pinnacle of friendship.

Jesus, I also praise you for the earthly friends which you have given me. Though imperfect and weak, their friendship gives me a faint, yet beautiful glimpse at your perfect friendship. Hints of Your radiant glory shine forth through their selfless love and raise my yearning to better know you, the true friend. I marvel at Your grace, as seen in the gift of friends. May we continue to sharpen each other, and to help each other more clearly behold the beauty of you, Lord Jesus. 

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