What Is a Friend For? Part One

“Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel” (Proverbs 27: 9).

Jesus said, “You are my friends…” He didn’t say “I am your friend.” For me to say “Jesus is my friend” is to pull Him down to my level. For Him to speak of us as His friends is for Him to pick up to His level.

James 3:23 “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God.”

Obedience evidences friendship. George Whitfield was asked: “Do you ever tire of your work for God?” He replied, “Sometimes I tire in it, but never of it.”

Epicetus said: “I am free and the friend of God, because I obey Him willingly.”

No one can grow weary in well-doing who lives in the light of a friendship that transforms all duty into delights.

We are challenged to be friends. Jesus said, “I have called you friends” (Vs. 15). This was a term used in kingly courts and in the Roman Empire. The confidants of the king were called “friends of the king.” They could see Him at any time. They ranked in importance above even his generals.

We are not sterile slaves who must cower in His presence. We are not members of the remote crowd which must strain to see Him. We are His friends. Every time you pray you are blessed to be entering the King’s court. Think of that.

Inherent in the meaning of the word “friend” is the meaning “partner.” A slave was defined as “a living tool.” We are His partners in His task. That means if we are doing His will He is a partner with us in doing. You can hear the word “part” in “partner.” You can count on Him to always do His part and in doing so He helps us do our part.

A call to serve Him is a call to joy. Joy is inherent in obedience to His will. “…My joy remains in you, and that your joy may be full.” A gloomy Christian is a contradiction of terms, an oxymoron. How can a person fail to be joyous while walking in His will?” (Vs. 11).

As a child I remember my dad painting our back porch.  As it grew late, I passed and he said, “Son, get that other brush and help me so we can finish before dark.”  I still remember the pride, the sheer joy of being a fellow-worker with my father. That is what Jesus wants of us.