S72P1 – A friend of God: self-sacrificing

John 15:12-13

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Their friendship started when they were very young.  Their earliest memories of playing in club houses and catching fireflies at night always included one another.  When school started they were joined at the hip and became each other’s support, but their experiences soon began to diverge.  One was tall, athletic and popular while the other was small, shy and bookish.  They would develop different reputations and spend less and less time together socially.  One day, the big man on campus had an opportunity to stand up for his oldest best friend.  It would be this decision of whether to put his own status and popularity on the line which would determine whether there indeed was a friendship there.

The idea of sacrificing one’s life for another usually makes us think about our physical lives.  We might see the picture of Jesus dying on the cross for us.  What we perhaps do not realize is that there are other ways to give one’s life for others.  For many, this act of self-sacrifice for a friend is not about facing death but about facing the loss of the life they have built.  This can be the sacrifice of reputation or status among a certain community.  It might be the sacrifice of a livelihood or position. The point is that a true friend holds no part of life to be too important for that sacrifice.  If we are to be called friends of God, then we must have this attitude regarding our friendship with him.  No sacrifice is too great for the sake of this relationship.

Our friendship with God is not something that needs to be broadcast on t-shirts and bumper stickers.  Although we certainly should be vocal and transparent about our faith, our actions really are what demonstrate our friendship with the Lord.  When we say “no” and make an unpopular decision for the sake of God, that friendship is revealed.  When we stand up against evil regardless of the cost, that friendship is revealed. When we give up whatever it takes so that we can follow his will for us, that friendship is revealed.  Father, thank You for the honor of being able to call You our friend, and continue to teach us to be sacrificial for You.