TO LISTEN TO THE AUDIO VERSION OF THIS POST, CLICK HERE.
Seasonal or Forever?
What determines who is your friend? What determines whether you keep them as a friend? There is a saying that some friends are “only for a season, and some friends are forever.”
It does seem that running in the same circles draws us together. As we share the same experiences or know the same people, it seems easier to view the world together. But once the events, times and places change, some friendships seem to fall away.
Some of those friendships simply dwindle and we just lose contact. Others go out with a bang, as we find we simply cannot keep pretending things are the way they always were. And sometimes, we find it better to give up and end the relationship.
So are some friends just for a season? God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit never intended it to be so. Unfortunately, even good, Christian people seem to try to get The One to fit into a season. And when The One won’t stay in His box, we feel tense.
I’ll do a little confessing now, that I almost fell into the same trap. I have been writing my current posts with the Lenten season in mind. As I see Easter on the calendar a little more than a week away, I thought, “Oh no, I will not be finishing writing all the Lord has given me to say!” I asked Him what I should do.
He said, “What have you learned from the Lessons I have been giving you? Were you really going to try to put Me back into some sort of seasonal box … some dates on a calendar? Were you really going to try to make Me fit your tradition?”
I think I heard a long celestial sigh. And then He brought to mind what He so clearly said, as recorded in Mark 7:13,
Thus you nullify The Word of God
by your tradition that you have handed down.
And you do many things like that.
He continued speaking to me, “I AM living with you! I AM not here for a season! I AM your Forever Friend!”
And so, I rest easy in my assignment to write these Lessons as God gives them to me. And that may or may not match up with the calendar!
Let’s look at how Jesus modeled being a Forever Friend.
Jesus Loved Diversity!
Jesus mingled with a very diverse crowd. He had friends of different genders, ages and stations in life (rich and poor). Jesus befriended many who did not have the same ideologies He did. Jesus was inclusive, rather than exclusive. Everyone had an equal shot at being a Friend of Jesus.
Jesus Was Shaped Only by The One of Whom He was a Part!
Jesus listened to the opinions of others, but He didn’t let His Friends shape HIm. Jesus was shaped by His Father and The Holy Spirit. Jesus warmed others, so they could also be shaped by His Father and The Holy Spirit.
Jesus Challenged His Friends!
Jesus challenged His Friends to think about Life in a different way. He asked questions that caused them to consider new things. He subtly opened their souls to receive Him.
Jesus Was Not a Nag!
Jesus did not nag His Friends about their sins and bad habits. Jesus did not approve of sin, but he loved the sinner. He simply shined His Light into their dark world and illuminated the thieves that threatened His Friends’ happiness.
Jesus Saw Others As God Created Them To Be!
Jesus saw God’s Creative Design for His Friends. He looked beyond their lack of faith and immaturity to what they would become at their best. He identified their strengths. Even knowing Peter’s potential to deny Him, He called out the best in Peter, telling him that he was the Rock upon which He would build His Church!
Jesus Prayed for Others!
Jesus prayed for His Friends in sickness and in health. He prayed satan would not be able to lead them astray through temptation. While Jesus recognized their weaknesses, He also realized their strength would come from God alone. Jesus continues even now to intercede for us.
Jesus Was There For His Friends!
Jesus was a “there for you” Friend. When His Friends called on HIm, He always answered (even if He was sound asleep!).
Jesus Grieved At The Loss of A Friend!
Even knowing Lazarus would be raised back to life in a few minutes, Jesus felt the sting of Lazarus being temporarily absent from his friends and family. Jesus shared the grief of His Friends, Mary and Martha. The One of Whom He was a Part connected with that same One in His Friends.
Jesus Forgave His Friends!
Jesus forgave His Friends, even when they went to sleep on Him during His crisis times … even when one of them (Peter) denied he even knew Him. Jesus continued to believe in them. It was Jesus’ Love that would not let go that brought Peter from denial to being the Rock!
Jesus Didn’t Take Away His Friends’ Right To Choose.
Jesus didn’t stop His Friends from making bad choices. No doubt Jesus agonized, not only over His Own impending suffering, but also that of Judas. Jesus could have stopped Judas from making a terrible mistake. But He realized that God had already given Judas a Gift He would never take back … the right to choose … even wrongly.
Jesus Never Went Away!
Jesus promised He would be with His Friends always. He kept that Promise into Eternity and beyond. He is still here in The One every second!
Jesus Kept All His Promises!
If Jesus told His Friends something, they could count on it. Jesus’ Words were and are and always will be True and can always be
Jesus Confided In His Friends!
Jesus was willing to share the greatest secrets of all times, as He revealed Himself and The One of Whom He was a Part, to His Friends.
Jesus Was Willing To Die For His Friends!
Jesus was willing to stand between satan’s best shot at humanity and His Friends. He was, is and always will be our Shield and Defender! Jesus was willing to go into the very center of a public battle between satan and The One of Whom He was a Part.
Jesus Gave The Trophy To His Friends!
Jesus won it all and could have kept it all. But He didn’t. He came to save His People from their sins. He came to remind them He Is God With Us, not for a season, but forever!
I no longer call you servants,
because a servant does not know his master’s business.
Instead, I have called you Friends,
for everything that I learned
from My Father,
I have made known to you!
Greater Love has no one than this,
that He lay down His Life for His Friends!
Points to Ponder
Consider all the friend relationships you have had in your life. Enjoy remembering the best times of sharing life together.
Now remember those you once had as friends, but now no longer consider them friends. Think carefully. Why did those relationships end?
Consider whether you can be a forever friend to those you have known as friends. It may not be that you get together with them again. But you can pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the joy you once shared.
If God reveals things in those relationships that need healing, remember Jesus started the healing journey by forgiveness of sins. He stands ready to forgive and remove any pain. Once you have forgiven and been forgiven by The Father, ask Him what He would like you to do next.
If He prompts you to begin anew with your friend, you may smile briefly at the memories of the past, but then move on into meeting the person your friend is today … and introduce them to who you are today!