To be a friend of Jesus

“As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete. This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I don’t call you servants any longer, because servants don’t know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you. You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit and so that your fruit could last. As a result, whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. I give you these commandments so that you can love each other. John 15:9-17 (CEB)

Am I a friend of Jesus? I am if my words and actions are like his. When I was younger I would ask God, “How am I to know how to be like Jesus?” It all goes back to the simple lessons of childhood in the simple songs we learned. “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Not only did I learn that I am loved, but I learned where to go for other truths. The Bible. In the Bible I can learn to walk as Jesus walked and to talk as he talked.

Henri Nouwen talks about this in his book, Bread for the Journey: “Very often we distance ourselves from Jesus.  We say, ‘What Jesus knew we cannot know, and what Jesus did we cannot do.’  But Jesus never puts any distance between himself and us.   He says:  ‘I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father’ (John 15:15) and  ‘In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, and will perform even greater works’  (John 14:12).

Indeed, we are called to know what Jesus knew and do what Jesus did.  Do we really want that, or do we prefer to keep Jesus at arms’ length?”

Heavenly Father, help me to remember that when I feel that You are far away, that it is not You that has moved. I long to hear Your words, to know what You require of me. Help me to slow down enough today to spend time in Your Word. Amen.

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