On Sunday we wrapped up our series called Marble Jar. (If you missed it, click here for the Podcast). As part of the message, I shared three qualities that all friendships are based on. They are: Acceptance, Enjoyment and Genuine Concern. Many of us have friendships based on the first two although it’s the third one that determines whether a friendship is really all it can and should be.
What we purposely didn’t cover in the series (yet is too important to not address) is that we have the opportunity to be friends with Jesus. One of the most remarkable things John recorded Jesus saying was that “he no longer considers us slaves, but friends.” How remarkable, how incredible, how special! God doesn’t want to be far away, distant, left alone. No, he wants a close personal relationship with each of us.
In fact when you look at the three qualities I shared on Sunday in terms of our relationship with Jesus, it is amazing. You see all three of these not only addressed but done so as exceedingly as possible.
Acceptance – God accepts us just as we are. He loves us so much He meets us right where we are. Yet He loves us too much to leave us there. We can all come to God at any time, in any space, no matter where we currently are, how ever we are currently living.
Enjoyment – In John 16, Jesus tells his disciples that they (and we) will rejoice, and that that joy can not be taken away. He goes on to say that our joy will be made complete. We often look for joy in our circumstances, yet what Jesus offers is a joy that is beyond our circumstances. An internal joy. One that says even though things may not be alright around me, I can experience joy within me.
Genuine Concern – Jesus put our needs above his own comfort. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Before we ever chose to follow Jesus, He chose to die for us. Before we ever took a step in his direction, he took the biggest step possible in ours.
You see the three things we used to demonstrate what makes a true friendship, is exactly what we get from Jesus. He accepts us just as we are. Offers a joy that is beyond our comprehension and was so concerned for us, he was willing to die for us.
In addition to getting the marbles in our jar in order, we want to ensure that our relationship with Jesus is in order. If we get all our marbles in order, yet miss this key relationship, we miss out. If you don’t categorise Christianity by using these three words, then you haven’t yet developed a proper understanding of biblical Christianity. If you don’t think God will accept you, Christianity has been misrepresented to you. If you don’t think there is joy, Christianity has been misrepresented to you. If you don’t think God has a genuine concern for you, again, Christianity has been misrepresented to you.
LifeSwitch exists to ‘connect people to God.’ It’s why we do what we do. If you have never made a decision to follow Jesus, to step into a friendship with him, there truly is nothing better you can do. If you want to talk this through, please talk to someone you know who is part of the LifeSwitch community. If you want to talk to me, please contact me, there is nothing I’d like more than to help you discover the best, most ‘for you’ friend you could ever have.
For those of us who have been following Jesus for a while, the question we need to ask ourselves is ‘how good of a friend are we?’ Jesus is an incredible friend to us, but are we a good friend in return? Want to know if you are? Use the same three qualities. Acceptance – Do you accept Jesus as he is? Or do you try to turn him into who you want him to be?
Enjoyment – Do you bring him joy by the way you live? the way you connect to him? Do you consistently ask him to get on board with what you’re doing or do you ask what he wants from you?
Genuine Concern – Are you genuinely concerned for him? Are you willing to get uncomfortable in order to do what is best for him?