You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I have had some friendships which were rather low-maintenance, but I also have had some friends who required a lot more attention and support. No doubt I have been a friend like that at times, needing a listening ear or asking for one favor after another. I often recall the phrase “you do for family” when I am asked by a friend to provide some kind of help. To me, friends are no different than family. No one likes to move furniture, but you help on moving day when the need arises because fulfilling that need is part of friendship. We would not necessarily consider that obedience, but it is the crux of today’s verse. When Jesus says that his friends obey his commands, He really is speaking of us fulfilling what He needs us to do for his kingdom.
The Lord is building his kingdom for very specific purposes. In order for us to be effective in our kingdom work, we must be obedient to what God requires of those who follow him. If we truly are friends of God, then we desire what He desires. We want his kingdom to succeed and grow. We want to add souls to it on a daily basis. We want to defeat the enemy’s attempts at putting any kind of dent in our evangelistic efforts. We want people to experience the love of Christ through us. Obeying what the Lord commands simply means doing that which He needs us to do in order to further his kingdom. Our obedience as friends of God is simply our willingness to step in and fulfill his requests. Those requests can be for us to do work outwardly or inwardly.
If we consider the pride we feel in our lowly selves being somehow worthy of friendship with God, we should expect to have the same pride when we consider being obedient to him. If the Lord asks me to perform a task for him, that should light me up on the inside. Obeying and fulfilling his commands is doing his work, being his hands and feet, adding value to his kingdom. We should consider it an honor to be obedient to God as that is what solidifies our friendship. This verse is clear that the friends of God can be identified by their obedience to his commands. Father, we ask that You continue to keep us obedient in doing the work You deem necessary for the advancement of your kingdom and the development of our spirits.