Beginning her sermon, Andrea told us that God is good. She said that He wants all of us. He is an ‘all or not at all’ God, and He desires that we put our agenda to one side, in favour of serving and loving Him.
We are created for relationship. God always intended for us to be in relationships. We can align with Him because of Christ, and because of Christ, He calls us ‘friend’.
Friendship has become such a generalisation nowadays, what with the advent of social media. So many people see friendship as the number of followers, or likes on a photograph, but this is not true friendship. True friendship really amounts to the small group of people that we are closest to, who will challenge us in our beliefs.
Friendship is what we are called to; it is part of our Holy calling. Andrea told us that she was going to bring examples of healthy and unhealthy friendships.
The thing is, we must be more attentive, and more aware of God and His call on our lives. We are called to Godly purpose. Jesus died on the cross so that we could live unbroken. We will be unbound by how unbroken Christ is in our lives. We have a changed life in His freedom, and it is our duty to demonstrate this freedom to others. We are called to recognise each other’s heart, and respond, rather than react to a situation.
One key friendship in the Bible is that of Jonathan and David (which can be read in the book of Samuel). They connected with each other because they were bound by God. Jonathan is the one who should have been blessed, because of his status in society, but David is the one chosen by God.
What we learn from this is that we must celebrate when others get blessed, and push them forward. We mustn’t go backwards or try and sabotage others, but must, instead, spur them on. We must all run our own race, and must remember that God doesn’t share His glory, and we need to alter our actions if we do anything that impedes His glory.
The thing is that healthy friendships produce a legacy. We must make sure that we don’t shut people out. Being a friend of God means nothing less than being kind. It is within our gift to show it. When we withhold kindness, we are never more un-Christ like. Whatever we may be going through, we must use it to bless others.
John 15:12-17 talks about intentional love and friendship. It is not within our gift to ignore people who need something, just because we don’t get on with them. Even our closest friends will let us down, but we forgive them, and we are called to do this for those that we may not be so close to.
We are God’s limbs on this earth and it is our job to help people. We are here to serve each other. The spirit is willing us forward, but the flesh will try to override it.
Sometimes, we don’t like people, but we must put that to one side, and help them anyway. We mustn’t let our flesh control and govern us.
Andrea talked of a book she was reading and suggested that we take some moments in our day to be still and attentive, and to be mindful and focus everything around us on God, so that we can ensure that we are behaving in a way that glorifies God.
She then goes on to give an example of an unhealthy relationship, shown in Luke 23:6-12. In this passage, Herod and Pilate become friends, though up until this point, they have hated each other.
They become friends because they both wish to kill Jesus. If we are only bonding with someone in our dislike of another person, then that is not a healthy relationship. We can quite easily fall into the trap of ‘deviant attachment’, where we become friends with someone simply because they also dislike the person we dislike, but instead of this, we need to challenge those who are running down other people.
We must pour Jesus into the situation, or we will end up in a mutually destructive relationship.
Herod and Pilate became friends, because they wanted to kill Jesus. This was the sole motivation for their friendship. We must be careful to remember that faith in God is bigger than any abusive, or coercive relationship, and that God intends us to have positive relationships with others.
Friendship is not a replacement for a relationship with God, but He calls us to be a friend to others. We must humble ourselves, and let go of our pride, our agendas, and our ideas, so that we can listen and be attentive to God, and be a friend to others through His grace.
Scriptures: John 15:12-17, Luke 23:6-12