Monday Morning Devotion-September 9, 2019
Greater love has no man (one) than this°he lay down his life for His friends. You are My friends if you do what I command. 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. John 15:13-15
"A friend is a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection." That's the dictionary definition of friend.
Of course, there are different levels of friendship and different ways to be a friend. Searching the internet under- "What is a friend?"- I found a large amount of information. So much, in fact, I started thinking maybe I should choose another subject for our devotion this week. This one might be difficult to corral.
Friendship is important so let's talk about it. We probably can't cover everything it means to be a good friend or to have a good friend. It's especially important to know who is a true friend, someone who can be counted on when the going gets tough. In 1967 The Beatles sang: "I Get by With a Little Help from My Friends." It was a song that punctuated the importance of having friends for those tough times.
Aristotle described a true friend as a "single soul dwelling in two bodies." In most cases a person's best friend would be their spouse. That is certainly the case with me, but, it's also important to have another close friend as well.
My wife, who long time readers of these devotions know as the Lovely Susette, has a best friend from childhood named Margie. They are always supportive of each other and can be on the same wave length even if they go months without being in touch.
My brother Bob is probably my best friend outside of my marriage. We think alike on so many things. As we have gotten older we have discovered the value of staying in touch and sharing ideas, problems, likes and dislikes. I know that he is there when and if I need him and vice versa.
Good friends push us to be more accepting of ourselves in just the way they assess our feelings about things. When we are feeling inadequate they help us understand that the person we are looking at in the mirror is capable and they boost our self-esteem.
A good friend may tell us if they think we are off track on something, but their gentle honesty is important in helping correct us.
Just being there for us is one of the most important values a good friend offers. And they really listen without turning the conversation back to themselves.
Supporting us through adversity is also the key to friendship. It's easy to support someone who is being successful, but no one is on that peak level 100% of the time. The test of friendship is when you flounder and make mistakes. Is your friend still there?
Good friends understand your stress levels. What makes you tick and what sets you off and stresses you out. They have our backs even when life gets tricky and they make friendship a priority. (www.huffpost.com "11 Signs of a Genuine Friendship.")
Wow, that's a lot to consider in determining if someone is a good friend or whether you are being a good friend for someone else. Honestly, no one person or even a group of people could fulfill all of those things all of the time. But good friends bring a caring approach into those times when their help is truly needed.
There is one who is truly our best friend all of the time. The reason He can be active in all of those areas of friendship is because He is our best friend as well as King of our life. As Sarah Young puts it: "He (Jesus) is our best friend as well as our King. He walks hand-in-hand with us through our life. He can bring beauty out of the ashes of lost dreams."
In the Bible, the ashes left behind after a fire had burned out were understandably a sign of destruction. When people experienced troubles, they sometimes sat on an ash pile or put ashes on their heads as a sign of mourning. But God promises people that their mourning will end. In place of ashes, they will be well-groomed with oil, a symbol of joy.
( Isaiah 61:3 Quest Study Bible.)
God has given us a free-will and sometimes we exercise it by thinking we can handle life's problems ourselves. We think we can get by without "a little help from our friends."
Then the first thing we know we are surrounded by ashes of defeat and sorrow. That's when we truly realize we need this best Friend. The only One who is capable of brushing away the ashes of failure and sadness and replacing them with cleanliness. Bringing success and joy and happiness into our lives to replace the sorrow and a feeling of ineptitude.
Those are the times when we know that we truly do have a Best Friend. He is always there. And as Sarah Young says: "Only a Friend who is also a King could accomplish this divine alchemy of bringing beauty out of ashes and also gleaning joy out of sorrow."
Prayer: Lord we recognize that you are the Best Friend who never lets us down and we give you thanks. Amen!