Tuesday, April 12, 2011

For My Friends

In John 15:13, Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." Of course, we know that the context is Jesus telling his disciples that he is now calling them friends and that he is going to lay down his life. That has also been interpreted over the years to teach that we, as followers of Jesus, are to lay down our lives for others. I look at this verse and put it together with the command to love each other as Christ loves us and the declaration that that love will be the mark that shows who we belong to. It causes me to look at myself and ask if I'm really willing to lay down my life for my friends. I don't mean just being willing to take a bullet or throw myself in front of a speeding bus. It is much deeper, and I believe, much more difficult than that. Am I willing to give up my time for my friends? Am I willing to make them a priority? Am I willing to rearrange my schedule, if possible, for them? Am I willing to be awakened in the middle of the night to lend a hand? Am I willing to let them have their way in certain matters? To go deeper, am I willing to pursue a brother or sister who is estranged? Am I willing to forgo worship to be reconciled, as Jesus taught? Am I willing to humble myself and ask forgiveness? Am I willing to forgive, whether the other has asked or not? Am I willing to acknowledge hurt, forgive, and then re-establish fellowship because the other is my sister or brother, because we are family? Now it's starting to sound more like dying. Am I willing to do whatever it takes, at any cost to myself, to strive to keep the unity we have in Jesus Christ? Am I willing to be misunderstood, criticized, even slandered to show Abba's love to a world that is desperately in need of it? Am I willing to die? Tough questions. Questions that I ask myself, questions that all who follow Jesus should ask. My answer echoes the prayer of the father with the sick son in Mark 9:24: Lord, I am willing, help my lack of willingness!


Kansas Bob said...

"Now it's starting to sound more like dying."

Indeed. Great insights Fred. Wonder if there is any applicability to the Blogosphere? :)

co_heir said...

There probably is applicability, but I'm not sure what. :)

Acts 14

From my opportunity to teach in our gathering this morning: