Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. – John 15:13
These are the words of Jesus on friendships. How can He expect so much of us? Well, the preceding verse can give us a clue. In John 15:12 Jesus says, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Jesus is only asking us to do what He has already done. He has led the way and set the ultimate example for us.
It seems like a tall order doesn’t it? Jesus knew what was coming though. He knew how cold and heartless people would get. He knew that if He didn’t give us some guidelines that we would lose the plot. He probably predicted that we would become selfish and that we would get so busy that we would have little time for friendships. In Matthew 24:10-12 Jesus says of the end times that, “many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
We need to resist being caught up in the lifestyle of many and determine to do what is right rather than go with the flow. Few people value true friendship and most people will not lay down their life for a friend. If things get too demanding or too difficult most people simply move on to another friend. However, Jesus said not to do so. He told us clearly to love one another and to lay down our life for our friends. That means that when things get tough we stand by each other. We support each other even if it hurts. At times we might be annoyed or become irritable with our friends and their little habits. We should endure these things and determine to stick by them even when difficult things pop up.
Being a friend and having a friend needs to become valuable to us. In our modern culture we have become accustomed to quick, easy and disposable. Sadly, many of us view people this way too. If there is no quick fix we are not interested. If the relationship requires work and is not easy we give up. If we can’t be bothered, we simply dispose of our friendship and pick up another one.
To be a friend is to lay down our life for our friends.