It’s that time of the year when you get to be around your friends and family a lot more than normal. It’s also that time of year when you have to be around your friends and family a lot more than normal. We want to “make the best use of our time” (Eph. 5:16) will all our relationships. This, of course, means that all our relationships (work, family, friends, and church) should point people to God through Jesus in some way. Jesus had friends (Jn. 15:15) just as we have friends. Jesus provided us the perfect example of what it means to be a friend.
Charles Spurgeon described what it meant for Jesus to be your friend:
IT is very easy to understand how Jesus Christ is our friend. Did ever anyone deserve the name so well? Who can prove his friendship as Jesus proved it by laying down his life for those he calls his friends? But it is a mark of wonderful condescension on his part that he should call us his friends, and it confers upon us the highest conceivable honour that such a Lord as he is, so infinitely superior to us, should condescend to enter into terms of friendship with us. My friend, O Jesus, thou art, for thou hast redeemed my soul from death and hell, but that I should be thy friend—nothing but thy loving, condescending tenderness could ever have conceived of this. If thou dost put such a title as this upon me, teach me how I may act in conformity with it.
Just as all of Jesus’ life pointed to God, Jesus used his friendships to point to God’s glory as well. How can we do that?
1 John 4:8 says, “anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” The love of God should dominate your mood and your actions. We can all use some reminders about God’s love, so we preach the Gospel to ourselves every day. God loves you and gave his Son so that you would not perish–Jn 3:16. This love not only warms your own heart so that you can feel good, but it also warms your heart so that you can be with others effectively for God’s glory.
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Relationships can be strengthened by addressing problems and working through them. Jesus gave us commands for how to work through difficult situations with one another in Matthew 18:15-20 (go to that person, pray you to regain that person, and welcome him or her back once they repent). This work of forgiveness will help you both to grow closer to God. Avoiding the work of forgiveness will lead you both further from God.
All of life, including our relationships, should lead to the worship of God. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36). “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). If your relationships are leading you to God, they are leading you somewhere else. Be sure every facet of your life is to God’s glory.
You have opportunities waiting. Your family, friends, coworkers, and enemies are waiting for you to share God’s blessings in your life with them. Go. Go share with them all the great things God has done for you.
In Luke 5 we find a beautiful example of how friends should treat each other. In verse 18 Luke recorded, “And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus.” It would be great to highlight this phrase in your Bible–”they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus.” There was no greater gift for those men to give their friend. No greater gift could we ever receive or offer. What a blessing just to be “before Jesus.” Go, bring someone to Jesus.