Bible Society of South Africa

In step with God: Our forever friend - 23 January 2024

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

14And you are my friends if you do what I command you.

John 15:14GNBOpen in Bible reader

‘Best Friends Forever’ wasn’t an expression that I grew up with, and I was surprised that Audie, our four-year-old granddaughter, knew about it. While fetching her from pre-school one day, I noticed a sticker on her arm. “It’s from my best friend forever”, she said, “And, Granny, I gave her a sticker too!” At that tender age, Audie knew that her friend was very special to her, and that ‘forever’ meant a very long time, but would the sticker seal the deal?

Proverbs tells us a little about friendship: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity”; (17:17) “Some friendships do not last, but some friends are more loyal than brothers” (18:24, GNT) “…and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” (27:9, NIV) Friends can speak openly to one another, caring for each other’s well-being, and trusting the heart it comes from.

A true friend is someone we relate well to, a vital part of our life during good times and bad, whether they’re near or far, who accepts us as we are – warts and all – and is a true blessing from God. Eleanor Roosevelt captures this essence: “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” Perhaps that’s why, with a friend, it’s easy to pick up where you left off. How much more God?

He, “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”. (Ephesians 3:20, NIV) God’s friendship with Abraham showed depth that went far beyond human expectation and understanding as God guided him into a future unknown to him.

God could reassure him, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward” (Genesis 15:1, NIV) and Abraham trusting him, believed God’s promise and did what he commanded, and over time, came to know God, himself, which was more precious than any other blessing; and the appearing of Jesus, God incarnate, would be his descendants’ greatest blessing.

Jesus told the Pharisees, “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see the time of my coming; he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56, GNT)

Jesus came to show the world that God’s love was for all people; He lived on earth to show the way to the Father, and the principle remained: “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15:14) As with Abraham, the disciples’ faith could only grow through action, prompting love and trust.

Jesus saw his disciples as precious people that he loved, that he wanted to draw into his confidence to teach what he’d heard from his Father, and not as servants who were told nothing about their Master’s business. He wanted the very best for them. “My Father’s glory is shown by your bearing much fruit; and in this way you become my disciples. I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love.” (John 15:8-9, NIV)

Jesus is our Forever Friend. He wants the very best for us too. Have we put our faith in him and become his friend?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for showing us the Father’s love, for being my Forever Friend and for teaching me by example how to be yours. Help me to remain in your love. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.7
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