(I have been wanting to do a series of posts about friendship, and specifically about being a friend of God. This is the seventh post of the series. The previous posts are here, here, here, here, here and here.)
Continuing from where we left off, C.S. Lewis’ sermon, The Weight Of Glory, helps us see our friends in a perspective of eternity; the permanence of these relationships becomes more real. We are not temporary beings passing each other by accident or coincidence. We are God-designed and created; immortal; we have destinies; our paths cross by divine plan. And what we do together has eternal significance: good or bad.
The relationship trajectory from friend to good friend to very good friend to best friend is one of – dare I say it? – purification.
Not to say that those who washed out in earlier phases were not good-hearted or pure in their intentions. No, those that endure have been divinely elected, selected, and elevated to continue the long, long journey with us. Endurance is a critical hallmark of being best friends.
Our best friends have earned – and will continue earning – our respect and appreciation for the sacrifices they make to trudge alongside us. No great relationship comes without sacrifice. Jesus told us, and showed us, this is a fundamental truth of our existence.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
That sounds… ominous, doesn’t it? The reality is, we are already laying down our life for something: pride, self-sufficiency, ego, the usual suspects (food, alcohol, sex, relationship, money, work), sometimes even religion takes center stage. (We were created to be spiritual beings, not religious beings.) These things have a place in our lives, perhaps; and when seen in the view of our immortality, they fall into proper perspective.
Jesus did not say it is honorable to lay down your life for a thing; He said it was honorable to do it for a person.
The four of us in my little gang have been given the privilege and opportunity to trudge together. Any one of us could recuse himself, and we wouldn’t think any less (or more) of him. But I doubt any of us will intentionally eject. When you find a friend who loves you just as you are, allows and encourages you to grow into the person God created you to become, and celebrates you being you…. well, walking away seems kinda ridiculous.