This month, we are continuing to focus on The Sublime Soiree guest list, hoping to share with you about inviting our friends into the sanctuary of eternal life with God. We took the month of May to focus on the VIPs of our guest list – our families – but God’s childrenalso have the call and privilege of inviting friends and acquaintances as well.
The idea of “making disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) feels daunting at the least and downright paralyzing at times. But, when we move out from our core relationships a few ripples at a time, we are more open to seeing God’s guidance. So, let’s look at friendships as exemplified by Jesus Christ Himself – starting with His relationships with His core three and moving out to His intentionality with the 12 apostles and the 70 disciples (Luke 10).
This week we are looking at Christ’s 3, which really might be described as His four – the disciples always listed first in the Gospels – Peter, Andrew, James and John. As we studied Christ’s relationship with these men, six key distinctions jumped out to us:
1) Jesus was actively selective. Jesus specifically called twelve men to follow Him, as disciples and friends, so that He could teach them by word and deed about the Kingdom of God. Two sets of brothers: Peter and Andrew and James and John were the first to be chosen by Christ, and for very intentional reasons.2) Jesus was sanguine. Sanguine is an uncommon word that means optimistic or positive, especially in an apparently bad or difficult situation. To the world, Christ’s choice of His twelve disciples looked ridiculous. They shared none of the credentials given to religious or governmental leaders of that time, yet Jesus looked on them with hope and offered them benefit of the doubt that they were the right men to befriend.3) Jesus was insightful. Peter was described as impetuous (acting quickly and without thought or care) and James and John were called Sons of Thunder because of their fiery temperaments that sometimes gave way to awkward moments. Jesus saw beyond those superficial flaws into the men they were designed to be. 4) Jesus was sincere. He gave front-row access to His inner circle – the apostles Peter, James and John – so that they could see the most important, personal touchpoints of His earthly ministry. These men saw Jesus heal Jairus’s daughter, witnessed Christ’s transfiguration, and accompanied Him as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His arrest.5) Jesus was selfless. In a world that tells us to choose friends who will help us get where we want to go, Jesus chose His inner circle in order to benefit them. He poured into them while asking little in return. 6) Jesus was a servant leader. Jesus is very clear in all His interactions with the disciples, that He, “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve. . .” (Matthew 20:28) And He admonishes them that “. . .whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant.” (Matthew 20:26b)
So, what does this teach us as Christians? The overarching lesson to us is to refocus – off of self and on to our friends. While the world tells us to live our best life, to choose friends who help us reach ourgoals, Jesus did the opposite. Jesus served His friends, poured into His friends, gave grace to His friends and believed in His friends to help THEM attain their God-given design and fruitfulness. The example He gives us in our closest friendships is to regularly seek to serve them. But how? Again, Scripture is our guide, and Jesus is our teacher in John 15:12, when He says, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Just as Christ selected the friends who would sojourn with Him most closely, God has ordained the blessing of best friends for us — those who know us better than any other, who have witnessed our greatest joys and our toughest hardships, who have listened when we needed an ear and who have spoken when we needed a word. If we are to realize the full potential of those relationships, then we must love them as Christ has loved us. We must:
• Give them grace and the benefit of the doubt at all times.• See past the surface to their rich, God-given design, and encourage them in it.• Invite them to share our lives and support them as they live theirs.• Pour into them in loving ways that energize them for life’s journey.• Prefer them in love. As Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with (sisterly) affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”• Actively seek ways to serve them.• Always speak truth to them.
Friend, who are your three? What inner circle has God granted you, and how are you serving them? Drop us a comment on our website or social media pages – we always welcome ways to be spurred on to love and good deeds! In the meantime, we challenge you to reach out to your closest 3 friends and applaud them for the God-given gifts you see in them! May you be blessed richly as you share! And please come back to our website this week! We uncovered some interesting insights about the members of Christ’s inner circle, and we will be sharing those on our blog.
Living free above the fray,
Sue and Linda
— The Sublime Soiree © May 22, 2021