Relationships That Could Make or Break You (Part 2): Friendship

Relationships That Could Make or Break You (Part 2): Friendship

Friendship

In this second instalment on our meditation on relationships that could make or break any individual, we will be considering friendship.

Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul. – Proverbs 27:9 (MSG)

Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you…I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all – Mark 2:3-5, 11-12

The second type of relationship with potential to affect any individual for good or for evil is friendship. Just like marriage, the kind of friends you keep, to an extent, determines how you fare in life. Friendship is one of the best indicators of your smartness; it is also a factor in how you are perceived by people. A popular maxim says, “Show me your friend and I will tell you the kind of person you are.” If you have quality friends, they will influence you positively; but if your friends are of the run-of-the-mill stock, they will rub off on you for not too noble ends.

In this fast-paced age, the word “friendship” is fast becoming synonymous with the term, “network:” that is the number of persons you maintain informal relationships with and whose friendship could bring you benefits ranging from jobs, business opportunities, and so on.

The passage above teaches us an important value of friendship: selflessness. The friends of this paralytic man seized the initiative of carrying him to the solution to his problem – Jesus, not minding the inconveniences of his weight and the distance they had to travel to do so. When they got there and couldn’t enter the house Jesus was, they did not give up and promise to bring him some other time. Rather, they forced their way to the solution – the presence of Jesus – by climbing through the roof.

Interestingly, the Bible recalls that Jesus appreciated their efforts – “He saw their faith” – and that was all He needed to stop what He was doing to attend to the man.

The question to ask yourself always, which should be your litmus test for measuring who your real friends are is, ‘Where are my friends taking me? Are they taking me to Jesus (the solution) or drawing me away from Him (the solution)?’ Your honest answer to these questions would help you ascertain which friendship you should cultivate and which you should severe.

The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17). Therefore, any friendship that is not helping you to become better or whom you are not helping to be better should be reviewed for relevance.

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

Also read:

Purpose: Sent to Absorb the Consequences of Sin

Purpose: Sent to Absorb the Consequences of Sin

Purpose: Sent to Absorb the Consequences of Sin

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5

Another mission of Jesus on earth was to bear the consequences of our sins, so we can be acquitted of them and we can have a clean slate before God. We probably know some of the grievous consequences of sin; sin reduces, hinders, destabilises and cuts us short; it aborts dreams and destiny as well as sides us up for nemesis on earth and judgement in heaven.

But, the truth is God is neither interested in keeping the record of our sins, nor is He zealous about clamping down on anyone on account of sin. He would rather that we live blamelessly and maintain a right standing in life because, in actuality, our sins do no harm to Him whatsoever; they only affect us and fellow humans.

However, since it is practically impossible for us to live without sinning, which disconnects from God, He demonstrated His good faith toward us by sending His son, Jesus Christ, to come and be the once-for-all sacrificial Lamb and propitiation for our sin. Jesus thus offered Himself to be wounded, bruised, chastised and hung on the cross in our stead, so that we can be rid of the sin label and we can have uninhibited access to God in fellowship.

Jesus, therefore, has taken upon Himself the certain wounds, bruises, chastisements and floggings which each of us should have endured on account of our sins. By bearing our retributions upon Himself He offered us in return peace of mind to function without scruples as well as the physical, mental and emotional health we need to thrive.

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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Purpose: Sent to Bear Griefs and Sorrows (2)

Purpose: Sent to Bear Griefs and Sorrows (2)

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; – Isaiah 53:4

Apart from coming to address the root of our pains and sorrows, Jesus also came to take away our actual sorrows and griefs when we experience such. He does this by taking our place and bearing the weights of our failures, depression, sadness, mourning, grief, weaknesses, and other vicissitudes of life; whilst offering us His peace and comfort in return.

However, He does this only to those who consciously invite Him into their situation and consciously surrender their condition to Him. That is why you often hear or read about people saying that they experienced an indescribable peace as soon as they called upon Jesus concerning some nagging matter in their lives.

But, remember the catch, He ministers solace only to those who call on Him. That is why He graciously threw an open invitation to everyone saying, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Therefore, even if you find yourself legitimately in mess on account of your mistake or an error in judgement, your case is not beyond His control, as He has declared in His word that, “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, And the prey of the terrible be delivered” (Isaiah 49:25). No matter the situation, He is up to it.

Jesus has come to bear our grief and sorrows, and He has successfully accomplished all that He came to do on earth. We only short-change ourselves when we take on the beatings of life on our own and commit nothing to Him.

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

Also read:

Purpose: Sent to Bear Griefs and Sorrows

Purpose: Sent to Bear Griefs and Sorrows

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; – Isaiah 53:4

Captured in the Bible verse above is another important assignment of Jesus Christ on earth: He came to bear the griefs and sorrows of humankind. He came to take what is causing pain and sadness in our lives in exchange for a better deal. He came to offer us a better exchange, replacing gloom with joy, lack with abundance, grief with laughter, and a loser mentality with a winning one, among others.

Man plummeted to an unimaginable low after the fall in the Garden of Eden, whilst every indulgence in sin afterwards further sinks us in estate and increases the resistance to our progress. But God’s agenda has never been for us to operate at reduced capacity, that was why He had to send Jesus to come restore us to the heights He had planned for us from the beginning of time. And if we must attain such heights, then such weights as grief, depression, guilt, sorrows, sin-consciousness and others must be set aside (Hebrews 12:1), so that we are free to soar and glorify God in the process.

Now this is better said than done because while it is natural to fall into sin and experience its debilitating effects, it takes a supernatural process to wiggle out of the entanglements of sin and operate above it. It is that supernatural task, which humans cannot undertake themselves, that Jesus came to do on our behalf, taking up our misery and shame and passing on to us His joy and glory.

He took our sins upon Himself and bore all the condemnation for them at the cross so that we are not hindered by their earthly nemesis nor face their eternal consequences. That way, we can live to our fullest potential on earth and still be with our Father in heaven when the earth is no more.

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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Purpose: Sent to Restore Israel

Purpose: Sent to Restore Israel

And now the Lord says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, So that Israel is gathered to Him. – Isaiah 49:5

Another purpose of our Lord Jesus Christ was to restore Israel back to God.

The people of Israel have always occupied a special place in the heart of God. Even after numerous sins and retributions, as recorded in the Bible, they remain very dear to God. Having called them out of other nations through Abraham, their ancestor, whom He promised a son to who would, in turn, be progenitor to these special people, He has kept faith with them through the ages – establishing and renewing His covenants with them, sustaining and protecting them, answering them whenever they called as well as starting the Agenda of Salvation with them; “for salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).

Despite the many overtures of God, the Israelites were notorious for running afoul of His precepts. The Bible is replete with instances of their up-and-down relationship with God, with various degrees of chastisement that usually followed their violation – the height of which was banishment from the land promised to them and their having to serve as slaves in foreign lands.

Yet, God still orchestrated their return back to the Promised Land and was with them in the process of rebuilding that ensued after that. Nonetheless, their relationship with God was characteristically feisty such that He had to embrace non-Jews, otherwise called the Gentiles, in a covenanted relationship, with all the perks that were originally meant for the Jews thrown into the equation (read Romans 11).

However, God has not given up on His chosen people, Israel, and restoring them to Himself was one of the reasons He sent His beloved Son to the earth (Romans 10). Indeed, God does not give up on anyone; but desires that all may come to Him for own good.

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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Purpose: Sent to Give Understanding

Purpose: Sent to Give Understanding

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.1 John 5:20

In continuation of our purpose series, let’s consider another purpose of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to the passage above, He has come to give us understanding about God and to enhance our knowledge of Him. These are essentials we need to make the most of our lives, as an appreciable knowledge and understanding of God – His will, His instructions, His (dis)likes, His preferences, etc – will make living a more meaningful, less tedious endeavour.

Merely knowing the precepts of God about various aspects of life and aligning ourselves to conform to His agenda is a major milestone in the race of life. And until the advent of Jesus Christ, the knowledge of God was not a widespread affair; but Jesus came to reveal God to humankind by exemplifying Him in His own way of life. The Bible says, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18).

Jesus has a privilege that no one can lay claim to; He has been with God through the ages and different dispensations. So He is an authority on God; He knows all there is to know about Him and is qualified to declare Him to humanity. At various times in His sojourn on earth, He declared God’s love, His blessing, His goodwill, His peace, His counsel, His judgement, His anger, among other things, so that we all can know who really God is and conduct ourselves in tandem with His expectations.

“And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe” (John 19:35).

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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