Monday, December 3, 2012

The Dearest Friend I Ever Had

The Dearest Friend I Ever Had


Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8

We often talk about the joy of salvation while still living in this world, and the fact that it’s not just about getting a ‘ticket to heaven’.  It can be hard to explain what that joy is all about.  It’s like trying to describe a rain drop in the middle of a torrential rain!  Where to do you begin?  I believe we have to begin with Jesus.
Throughout my years on this earth I’ve had many friends, and I thank God for each and every one.  Friendship brings flavor to an otherwise doldrums life.  A friend gives you someone to talk over your thoughts with, to laugh with, to cry with, and to simply pass the time of life with.

But friends of this life come and go.  Through job changes I’ve lost touch with many dear people.  I worked many years as a consultant and would spend stints from a few weeks to many months working with a group of people only to have to move on to another company’s tasks and leave them all behind.  I’ve had friends in church that were closer than family.  But when either they or I were lead to another worship center, over time, I lost their friendship.
Earthly friends can turn on you too.  I’ve made my share of mistakes and hurt people I loved who never loved me the same thereafter.  People aren’t always forgiving of your mistakes, or can forgive you but never want to be that close to you again.

There are different levels of friends too.  I have a few friends I will share my deepest, darkest secrets with, and there are others that I’ve learned to limit what I share. 
And there are those friends that keep me around only for what I can do for them.  It’s obvious in when they call.  They call when they have a problem, a need, or when it’s convenient for them. 

But this is just how people are.  We all are sometimes unloyal, self-seeking, here today and gone tomorrow.  These are all still my friends, and I love them and value our friendships.  But then there is that best friend, the one who never leaves my side, is always forgiving, is always there for me to cry to, shows me things to laugh about, and loves me.
Jesus has been my dearest friend since the age of 8 ½, even though it took me many, many years to realize it.  You don’t understand salvation and the many gifts it brings when you get it.  That’s revealed over time.  So let me tell you about my dearest friend, and our friendship.  This is the joy of salvation.

Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever”.  He is the unchangeable friend.  He doesn’t want to be my friend today, but tomorrow find someone else of greater popularity to befriend.  Even when being my friend isn’t popular – He is there.  He never changes.  He continues to be holy, loyal, loving, wise, and powerful.
I’ve lost many friends because I failed to keep up the relationship when the tasks of day to day life took my time.  Proverbs 18:24 says “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Friendship has to be worked, and earned.  Sometimes life happens, and that gets to be more than you can fit into your schedule.  Even a brother, who doesn’t give up on you so easily, may eventually forget to call you to check on you.  But Jesus is CLOSER than a brother.  I don’t have to work to be sure we stay in touch.  In Joshua 1:5 He promises “I will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Jesus doesn’t hold my mistakes against me.  I know they hurt Him, and yet He sees them and loves me in spite of myself.  He is forgiving.  In 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” All my sins, past, present, and future, were forgiven and covered in His righteousness on January 15, 1971, the day I believed in Him for my salvation.  He doesn’t hold my mistakes against me.  He simply nudges me an encourages me through His Spirit to do better.  There is no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1), only love.

I can give Him my deepest secrets, my worries, my doubts, and know that they are safe with Him.  He’s not going to plaster it on a billboard, or gossip it to others.  He can be trusted.  He tells me in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  He gives true rest, true comfort, from the pains and worries of life.

Some will say, “How can you be friends with someone you cannot see?” and that is a good question.  But there are two ways in which things are seen.  First there is the usual way – with your eyes.  But then there are things you don’t see with your eyes, but you see by their effect on the things you can see, like the wind.  I don’t see the wind, but I see it blow the trees and shake the leaves.  I don’t see the breeze, but I can feel it on my face.  I don’t have to see Jesus with my eyes to know He is there. 
In my life, I’ve seen His presence in the answered prayers, the storms He has calmed, and times when He simply let me lean on Him and I found His strength when I was too weak to face life.  I’ve felt His presence in times when I was overcome with fear to the point of not being able to speak.  I’ve known Him to be there when times were so good that my heart felt as if it would pop like a balloon filled with love!  He is there – always – through the greatest gift I’ve ever received, which is His Spirit in me.   

On January 15, 1971 He entered my heart, placed his Holy Spirit in me, and became my best friend.  I’m happy to share my best friend with you.  Ask Him to enter your heart and be your best friend too.  He is the joy of salvation.





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