Doug Creamer: Friendship
Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 18, 2023
By Doug Creamer
Our church has a men’s group that meets every other week which we call the Fight Club. The intent of the group is to encourage and challenge each other in our walk with Jesus. Choosing to walk with Jesus is not easy, but it is easy to walk away from Him. Our desire is to help each other deal with the challenges that we face in daily life and to remind ourselves that we are not alone in our fight.
The other night in our meeting the topic of friendship with God came up. When I was lying in bed that night thinking about our discussion, I thought about my best friend, Jay. Jay and I worked together at Elkin High School. We ate lunch together every day. We have been to each other’s home and helped with numerous projects. He helped me move once — that’s friendship. We always had fun together and were often up to something if you saw us together. We loved to laugh and to get others to laugh, too. One of the best parts about our friendship was the fact that there were no pretenses. We talked openly and honestly with each other. There was no judgement. We accepted each other even if we thought differently about some topics. I have missed my best friend since he passed.
I feel very blessed because I have a number of very good friends. It is great to spend time with my friends because the conversation flows so smoothly and effortlessly. I always hate for the time to end and look forward to the next time we can see each other.
I started thinking about Jesus and His disciples. Obviously when Jesus was in human form He could not be friends with everyone in the world. He limited Himself and lived within His limits. We know Jesus had friends like Lazarus, Mary and Martha. His closest friendships were with His disciples. Even among His disciples, some were closer to Jesus than others.
The Bible tells us that Jesus was closest to Peter, James and John. They made up His inner circle. This doesn’t mean that Jesus wasn’t close to the other disciples, it just means he was closer to these three. I have been thinking about that and wondering why He developed closer relationships with some over others.
I have been considering Judas, who betrayed Jesus. Did Jesus want to be close to Judas? Yes, the door was open to him because he was among the 12 disciples. But Judas was hiding that he was stealing from the ministry to benefit himself. I think Jesus knew he was doing it and tried to draw him back. Judas could not let Jesus see this dark side. He kept his sin hidden. It was that choice not to repent that kept him from a closer walk with Jesus and ultimately led to his betrayal of Jesus.
I love Peter, who was one of Jesus’ closest friends. He was always blowing it. He made plenty of mistakes and often said the wrong thing. But he still remained one of Jesus’ closest allies. Why would Jesus let someone who made so many mistakes into His inner circle? Peter lived a repentant and broken life. He turned to Jesus time and again asking for forgiveness and help to be the man of God that Jesus saw and believed he could be.
I believe the invitation is open to you and me. Jesus wants to develop a friendship with us but the ball is in our court. It’s up to us. We get to choose how close we get to Jesus. Like Peter, it doesn’t matter how many mistakes we make along the way. It depends on our heart, our willingness to repent when we make wrong choices and our obedience to Him. The door is open through prayer, fellowship with Him, worship, and spending time reading and meditating on His Word. We can connect as deeply as the disciples and become His friends.
I want to encourage you to live like Peter, James and John and become friends with God. Don’t try to hide things from God, rather, expose them and find the forgiveness and peace that you need. Go beyond reading your Bible and think about what you have read, asking God to reveal Himself to you. Pray and talk to Him like He is your best friend. Drop any pretense and be real with God. I promise if you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. This friendship will last beyond this lifetime into eternity. Make the investment and become God’s friend.
Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or firstname.lastname@example.org.