// Kenneth W. Hagin
IN LIFE there are various types of relationships that we can be involved in. There is the divine relationship between God and man, the marriage relationship between husband and wife, and the family relationship between relatives. But there is another relationship that is very important, and that is our friendships.
Friendships can be a great blessing to our lives. Christian friends can help us achieve our goals and dreams. In the Bible we learn about many types of relationships. Let's see what Jesus said about the value of friendship.
JOHN 15:12–17 (NIV)
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
15 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.
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
17 This is my command: Love each other.
In this passage, Jesus Himself said He is our friend. The words to an old hymn say, "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!"* Because we are Christians, Jesus is our friend.
It is a fact of life that we must have friends if we are going to accomplish very much. We need someone to believe in us in order for us to accomplish anything worthwhile.
Destined to Be Friends With Jesus
I want to share two facts about friendship with you. Fact number one: you were destined to have Jesus as your best friend.
The Word of God tells us that this was ordained before the foundation of the world. Friendship with Jesus is the will of God concerning you! Jesus wants to be your friend and help you through life. He has forgiven you of your sins. He wants to show you how to overcome and be victorious.
Notice the characteristics of friendship that Jesus shared in John 15:12–17. First, a friend is someone who loves you. John 15:12 (NIV) says, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." We know that Jesus is a true friend because He loves us.
Second, a friend is someone who gives his life for you.
John 15:13 (NIV) says, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." Jesus showed His great love for us in that while we were still sinners, He died for us (Rom. 5:8).
Third, a friend is someone who does something for you when you ask him to do it. A true friend won't make excuses when asked to do something; a friend will just do it! John 15:14 (NIV) says, "You are my friends if you do what I command.
Fourth, a friend is someone who shares himself with you. In John 15:15 (NIV) Jesus said, "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." Jesus shared His heart with His disciples, and He still shares His heart with us today.
Fifth, a friend is someone who chooses you voluntarily.
John 15:16 says, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you." Jesus chose us voluntarily. And for us to enter a friendship relationship with Him and enjoy the benefits of that friendship, we also must choose Him voluntarily. Jesus won't force His friendship on us.
Sixth, a friend still believes in you when everyone else gives up on you. In John 15:17 (NIV) Jesus said, "This is my command: Love each other." Jesus would not command you to do something that He was unwilling to do. He will always love you. Even if the whole world gives up on you, Jesus still believes in you! He is your friend!
Created With a Need for Friends
So we've seen fact number one about friendship: You were destined to have Jesus as your best friend. Here is fact number two: You were created with a need for friends.
Even though you know God and have Jesus as your friend, you still need other people. You can be the most spiritual person on earth and have the most spiritual experiences known to man, but you still need earthly friends.
Look at Adam, for example. Though he was a perfect creation, had daily fellowship with God, and lived in a perfect environment, God said, "It is not good for man to be alone" (Gen. 2:18).
God has divinely appointed the paths of certain people to intersect with your life and enrich you.
Friendship allows a networking to take place so that your efforts will accomplish many times more than what you could do by yourself. Looking back, you could probably say that without a certain friendship, without the encouragement of a certain friend, you would not be where you are today. Friendship is valuable and vital to our success in life.
* Joseph M. Scriven and Charles C. Converse, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, public domain.
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Faith In Action
We are ordained to be friends with people, but how should we choose our friends? Here are a few guidelines to help you choose your friends wisely:
1: Choose people who have similar interests, beliefs, morals, and values.
2: Choose friends who will support you, strengthen you, and encourage you to do the will of God.
3: Choose people who are going the same
direction in life that you are.
4: Choose people who will add something of value to your life.
5: Choose people who will lift you up, not pull you down.