9 I have loved you just as My Father has loved Me. Stay in My love. 10 If you obey My teaching, you will live in My love. In this way, I have obeyed My Father’s teaching and live in His love. 11 I have told you these things so My joy may be in you and your joy may be full.
12 “This is what I tell you to do: Love each other just as I have loved you. 13 No one can have greater love than to give his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I tell you. 15 I do not call you servants that I own anymore. A servant does not know what his owner is doing. I call you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from My Father. 16 You have not chosen Me, I have chosen you. I have set you apart for the work of bringing in fruit. Your fruit should last. And whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you.
17 “This is what I tell you to do: Love each other.
Ever since I was a little girl I have been very selective when choosing my friends. I had many acquaintances as a child and knew lots of kids in our small town, but I only had a handful of people I considered true friends. Decades later, I have become even more choosy. Sure, I have hundreds of Facebook “friends,” Pinterest “friends,” Twitter & blog followers, but again, only a handful of those virtual voyeurs are my real life friends.
For nearly twenty years my most intimate friend has been my husband. I keep nothing hidden from him- we share every joy and every deep, dark secret of our souls with one another. But, he is imperfect and so am I. And, as you know, sinners inevitably hurt and disappoint one another- which we’ve done thousands of times throughout our marriage. Thankfully, though, our BEST friend has loved and forgiven us and enabled us to love and forgive one another so that our relationship could be rebuilt, redeemed and restored into oneness.
My BEST friend, however, is absolutely perfect! He willingly laid down His life for mine thousands of years ago. Because of His love for me, when by body dies, I am destined to spent eternity worshipping our Father in heaven. But until that day comes, I get to remain in His love EVERY moment of EVERY day on this earth!
By obeying His commands.
How do I do that?
By reading His life story so that I can get to know Him.
By talking and listening to His voice – without ceasing.
By submitting my will to His in every single detail of my life.
Only then can I produce lasting fruit that will glorify our Father in Heaven. Only then can I love my friends, as He has commanded me to do. Only then can I be confident that Jesus will call me His friend.
“Friendship is rare on earth. It means identity in thought and heart and spirit. The whole discipline of life is to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His word, but do we know Him?”