Be A Friend of Jesus Christ

By Pastor Teck Uy

We all want to become friends of Jesus Christ. While it sounds easy to become one, it is actually not so. This is because it demands complete obedience to the Lord’s command to love. Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:12-14). Certainly, this command is not easy to obey, as evidenced by the hatred, infighting and discords that are so prevalent even among those who claim to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not uncommon to see brothers fighting with each other and friends and neighbours engaging themselves in bitter arguments. Many families are broken and even churches are split because they would rather let anger, resentment and bitterness prevail than loving each other and living in unity.

The test of whether we truly love our friends and brothers is our willingness to lay down our lives for them. Love is sacrificial in that the love that is required of us is the same love that Jesus had for us. He did not only say that he loved us, but he submitted himself to the will of the Father and died for our sins. In the same manner, we must be willing to lay down our lives and sacrificially give up our own plans, desires and dreams for the sake of unity and harmony with family and friends. As friends of Jesus Christ, we should develop close friendship with one another – and in order for our friendships to be strong, they should be founded on love. Without love, there can be no relationship between us, because friendship is more than just knowing each other; it is influencing the lives of one another. It is love that allows friends to stick it out until the end. The Book of Proverbs appropriately describes this relationship when it says, “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24).

The ultimate sacrifice that the Lord demands from us is our own lives. Indeed, there is no substitute for our own lives – not even our possessions or the lives of our loved ones. Yes, many are willing to part with their possessions or give up the lives of their loved ones to show how much they love the Lord or their friends, but even these fall short of God’s requirement. God demands the best sacrifice from us and there can be no better sacrifice that the sacrifice of ourselves. In his epistle, the apostle Paul said, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship” (Rom. 12:1). We do not need to die in a physical sense; we simply need to come to God just as we are, forsaking all that will hinder us from giving our best service to him and our friends.

It is a fact that while love builds up relationships, sin is a spoiler. It is sin that separates us from God and from one another. For us to die to ourselves, we need to forsake every sin that we enjoy doing. However, the problem with many believers is that they are willing to repent of some of the major sins, but they keep those that they enjoy doing. They are not willing to forsake it all, because they enjoy the temporal enjoyment that living in sin brings. They are oblivious of the fact that sin catches up. While they may seem to be unaffected by it now, God is just and his justice will prevail. The principle of sowing and reaping always applies. Therefore, there is a need to overcome sin, so that love may prevail.

As we work towards love and resisting sin, it is good to be reminded that “in your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Heb. 12:4). We have not been serious enough in dealing with sin – not to the point where we are willing to lay down our lives. While we know that we should love and not hate one another, we cannot resist the temptation of hating and not forgiving some of those who have offended us. In some cases, we forgive with our lips, but not from our hearts. While we outwardly show our affection to them, there is still bitterness that lingers in our hearts and it spoils true fellowship. We are no longer as open to one another as before and we withhold true love. If we indeed want to be friends of Jesus Christ, we need to give up everything and forgive one another from our hearts. We must be willing to lay down our own lives, even to the point of shedding our blood. We need to demonstrate the same love that Jesus had for us – he shed his blood for us, his friends. Therefore, let us offer to God our best sacrifices – ourselves – and let us lay down our lives for our friends in the name of love. Hallelujah!