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I wrote this last September but I was scared to share it. My hope is that you’ll receive it with grace.
I went into the summer of 2018 with one purpose: To have my eyes transformed to see Jesus as friend in my life, and to become a closer friend to Him.
I watched a video of Kristene Dimarco talking about a season of her life where she really began to see God as a friend of hers, and that inspired me to take the adventure. I’ve had moments in my life where this has happened, but I really wanted the focus of my heart to be on this friendship.
As you read this, put yourself in my shoes, and you will see that He is a friend to you, too. Each area I wrote about comes from a specific story from Jesus’ life. If you want to know more about Him, I’d love to give you some more direction. And if you read the first four books of the New Testament, you’ll witness His tangible love.
So the title of this one might sound odd to you. But, it’s true, Jesus is my friend! I see instances all throughout the Gospels of Jesus being such a dear friend to people (even when they were not to Him). I see this in my life currently knowing how much His friendship and patience with me has changed my life. He is my friend, and I know that completely.
Jesus is friend to my racist, or judgmental side (JOHN 4:27). Hear me out. As much as I like to think I am very inclusive and wouldn’t have thoughts of anger or judgement towards someone because of where they are from or what I see on the outside, I know that isn’t yet true. Only when I’m being honest with myself do I realize that there are parts of my mind that still think I am better than a person or that I can’t trust someone because of what I see. It breaks my heart to say that, and the closer I get to Jesus, the further I move from those thoughts, but there is still real stuff from my past that wants to hold on. The thing about this friendship between me and Jesus is that He is totally NOT OK with me being racist or judgmental or hateful. Not at all. But He is still patient. He has a heart that is long-suffering and willing to walk with me through the hate and the jealousy that I still hold onto sometimes. He sees the end and He knows that soon, and very soon, as I am walking more and more by His side, I will walk out into pure love for even the ones my mind would tell me to hate. And it is this gentle presence of His that changes me. Being around Him makes me want to love and understand and reflect who He is more and more!
Jesus is friend to my brokenness. Even in the very depth of my sin, He is my friend and He is near to me! Although it would seem like His first instinct would be to judge, He welcomes, instead. Then He shows me my identity (because everything revolves around Identity), no longer allowing me to walk in the old, brokenness that I’ve had. You see, Jesus’ plan for my life (and yours) is not to live in the state of brokenness that we so often decide to call home. Rather, He wants us to grow past it. That can’t happen without His help because our healing and our identity are one-in-the-same in Jesus, and our whole life flows through His hands, if we allow it. This is what I call empowerment, and it happens on a continual basis with Jesus. He isn’t afraid of my sin, in fact, He is right next to me, even as I sin, reminding me that He still loves me, and He always will. St. Augustine once said, “All things work together for good for those who love God, even our sins.”
Jesus is friend to my religious side. With religion comes death to Jesus, and He knows that. The Jewish people of Jesus’ time had become so wrapped up in the idea that religion is what saves us, that when Jesus came to declare the truth of Heaven’s Kingdom they killed Him. So when religion tries to become king in my life, that essentially means death to Jesus in my life. In all reality, death to Jesus in my life means death to my life, even if I can’t see it. And Jesus knows that. But He certainly isn’t afraid. He’s willing to call out the areas of my life where religion is becoming king, boldly and specifically. Over and over, even. Even if my anger surpasses my joy, because He won’t stand for me living in a death cycle. He isn’t afraid of death, so He will defy every rule and box that religion (or church, or government, or politics) puts on Him. He does it in order that people will be set free. Jesus is in for the long-haul, and He understands that my heart is keen on religion, so His grace continues to multiply with compound interest.
Jesus is friend to my orphan side. The spirit that makes me think that I have to work for everything and constantly try to protect myself is the orphan spirit. Jesus comes in to wreck every identity that makes me believe I’m not good enough or that I need to try harder, and He shows me His love is bigger and much more satisfying if I’ll allow it to consume me. He comes right to the core of me, to the deepest, darkest depths, and shines the light of Love. I don’t have to work hard in order to be known in His presence, He invites me in freely. I’ve come to realize that in the kingdom of God we don’t have to work for an hourly wage. We receive an inheritance and that is the motivation and inspiration for the work we do! We work from a place of comfort, and not for a place of comfort.
Jesus is friend to my skepticism. Both my skepticism in Him and my skepticism for the world. He is not afraid of hard questions, or areas where I still struggle to believe in Him. Again, He is in it for the long-haul, and He is SO SECURE in His identity that He has no thought, even, of forcing me to believe something, even if I NEED to believe it. By pursuing friendship with Him, all things will naturally work out and my faith will continue to grow by simply existing in His presence.
Jesus is secure in His identity. And He wants me to be, too. His desire is for me to be secure in Who He is and also secure in who I am.
And He wants the same for you.
As a friend,
Please continue to share this blog with your friends and family if you feel like it can impact them.COMING SOON: T-shirts and stickers! Keep your eyes peeled.