I love listening to my grandfather talk about his younger days. One of the coolest things is to hear my grandaddy talk about his school days. He will talk about things they did, and mischief he and his friends got into. One of his good friends growing up was a boy by the name of George Lindsey. Most TV Land fans today know him by the name Goober. George Lindsey became an actor as an adult. And his most well-known role was as a loveable mechanic on the popular Andy Griffith Show. My grandaddy said they used to play hooky, (thats skipping school) and go fishing or swimming in a pond all the time. Grandaddy has even told me about pranks Goober used to pull on the teachers. They were friends because they knew each other. They were friends because they cared about each other. They were friends because they spent time together.
It’s amazing how the definition of friendship has changed in just a few short years. Not long ago, I heard someone boasting that they were friends with a celebrity. I began to ask them how they knew this famous person. They replied that they were friends on Facebook. The internet has totally redefined the word friendship. Friendship has gone from once being a very personal, intimate thing to being very impersonal. According to the internet, you really don’t even have to know someone to be their friend. It seems now days you can just know of someone and know nothing about them personally and have a relationship. Once friendship required an investment in another’s life. It required a sacrifice of time in order to build a relationship. Now friendship is non sacrificial and non-committal. Friendship in our modern society is as easy as clicking a button.
This new shift in relationships is not only damaging to us as human beings, but it can also be damning by allowing us to be deceived. This new mindset as it pertains to friendship has slowly watered down what a true relationship should be. Even our relationship with Jesus. One popular T-shirt became a fad and is still being sold to this day. The slogan on the shirt reads, “Jesus is my Home Boy.” Sadly, many of the people I’ve seen wearing these shirts lived a very worldly life. Its kind of like their way of being able to live life on their own terms regardless of how sinful their actions may be, but still call Jesus their friend. There again, a real relationship God is watered down and made to be as easy as putting on a t-shirt.
Look at your friends Facebook pages. The majority of them claim under religious beliefs to be Christian. Some even take it a step further and put that they are a Christ follower. Yet many of the same people who would claim to know Jesus post pictures and status updates on their pages that are the opposite of everything Jesus taught in scripture. We are not friends with Jesus because we clicked “Like” on a Christian fan page. We are not friends with Jesus because of what our T Shirts may say. And just because someone says they know Jesus, doesn’t mean that Jesus would claim to know them.
Jesus made the Heavens. He made the earth and the planets. He made everything that exists in all of creation. That must mean he also made friendship. So if Jesus created friendship, shouldn’t we seek to know his definition of friendship? It would be like me telling a man who was painting a portrait of a boat that his portrait was actually not of a boat, but a banana. The man painting the picture is the creator, and he alone has the right to define his creation. So what does God say about friendship? Who does God consider our friends? I can promise you this….Facebook’s definition of friendship doesn’t even come close to God’s.
“You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:14.
The ones Jesus calls his friends are those who obey him. But how can you obey someone unless you spend time with them? Contrary to what the T Shirts says, Jesus is not your home boy. He is your King. He is your Lord. He is the Savior of the world. And he wants to be your friend. If you live more for your own fleshly desire than for Christ, He is not your friend. This may anger some people. You may think, “What right do you have to say who is Jesus friend and who isn’t?” But look at the verse above. I didn’t say it. I’m just repeating what Jesus said.
Jesus never said you have to be sinless to be considered his friend. But he did say you have to obey him. And that means that if we are his friends, we will constantly be seeking more after him than our own desires. Real friends of Jesus are growing daily in Holiness and sanctification.These are two common words thrown around in church very regularly. But few people actually know what these words mean.
The word Holy in the Hebrew is defined as being separate. So when you hear, “The Holy Spirit”, think of a separate spirit. Then you must ask yourself, “Separate from what?” Separate from the ways of the world. Thats why the angels sing “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord almighty.” Thats why when Moses asked the question to God, “Who are you?” The Lord replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” You see if an alien came down to this planet and asked me to describe myself, I could point to any other person and say, “Im like that human being.” But God had no one to compare himself to. God is separate from everything in creation. That is until the day God finally could point down from Heaven to a humble Jewish Carpenter and say, “Im like Him.”
1 John 1:6 “So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.”
The term Sanctification is simply growing daily in our pursuit of holiness. Are you daily being sanctified or more separate? If we are not striving to be more Holy, or separate from the world, with our lives daily, we remain enemies of God. Here is what one pastor said speaking on holiness. He said, “The reason we even struggle with this sin is because we are not pursuing holiness. If Christians would grow in holiness, then they would stop being a slave to their sinful nature.” Growing in Holiness will make us separate from the world in our thinking and actions. But we cannot grow in Holiness, unless we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. And we cannot have the dwelling of the spirit unless Jesus has become our friend.
Here are some of the best ways to being pursing Jesus as your friend. The first step begins with becoming holy or separate from temptations of the world. And then growing in that sanctification daily.
1. Submit To God
You must come to a point of surrender. Its not just believing in God. Its not just saying Jesus is your friend and living contrary to his commands. Its repentance in your life. And repentance at its most basic is simply just giving up. Its to stop fighting against God. Stop fighting against your conscious and what you know is right. Stop justifying your sin. Just stop and give up. Surrender your life over to Christ. Begin to ask yourself who has Lordship over your life! If your base how you live life on feelings, culture, peer pressure, or selfish desires, then you have Lordship over your life, not God. However, if you begin to seek to know what God says about how you walk, how you talk, what you watch on television, and how you live your life, then God has Lordship. But know this…God doesnt want to be Lord over some parts of your life and not others. He wants it all. Submit all aspects of your life over to Jesus. If you say he is Lord of your life, the let him be Lord over all areas of your life.
2. Choose To Stop Sinning
Although Satan is responsible for many terrible things, he doesnt make you sin. Satan is a tempter, but he is not sovereign or able to control everything like God. You cannot stand before God and blame living a sinful lifestyle on Satan. That falls on you and you alone. In submitting to God, you must choose to stop sinning. This begins by examining your life and pinpointing the areas that you know are dishonoring to God. This may cost you popularity or friends. This may cost you money and material things. One thing is for sure, whenever we choose to follow Christ we will have to give up something. Turning from a sin that we have grown to love can be tough. But thats when we, as John Piper put it, “Make War on the sin.”
If your sin is drunkenness, make war and dont go hang out ever again at the bars. This may cost you friends. But again, ask yourself who has Lordship over your life, your friends or God? If your sin is lust, this may cost you a relationship or even more. If lust is claiming Lordship over your life, end that sinful relationship or take your computer and throw it in the garbage. Whatever it takes to rid yourself of the chains that hold you in a sin, take action.
3. Seek To Be Friends with Jesus
Read your Bible daily. Become a regular member of a church. And seek to know what God says about our lives as opposed to what the world says.
“God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.” 1 Thessalonians 4:7.
God has called us to live separate from this world. We cannot be a friend to God and be a friend to the world at the same time. You either love God or hate him. Matthew 6:24 tells us this. If you love the things of this world and reject Gods commands then no matter what your lips say, you prove that you actually hate God because you hate his commands.
“For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God,” Titus 2:11-12.
We are to live in this world, but not be of it. God says we are to seek Wisdom in his word. And we are to be devoted in everything we say and do to the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Matthew 7:21-23.
Are you Holy or do you break God’s laws? Are you seperate or are you just another example of modern-day sinful living? Would Jesus call you his friend or tell you to depart from Him. That even though you may have known his word and attended church, in judging your life….he never knew you. Dont be a friend of Jesus as Facebook would define friendship. Be a friend of Jesus in truth by living a holy life in obedience to His perfect word. Friendship with Jesus is not as easy as clicking like. But it holds far more benefits than any earthly friendship you will ever experience.