Day 39: Choose your friends wisely... there is a cost
The company you keep deeply affects your life. It does. Countless experts advise us to specifically surround ourselves with the “right kind" of people. I like the phrase like-valued people. Do you consciously put this advice into practice? Or are you more of a “go with the flow” sort of person, choosing along the way those you will spend time with? Some of us are more intentional than others. I do want to suggest that the company you keep deeply affects your life.
It sure seemed like my parents were judgmental, especially about my friends. I am now the parent of grown children. If I look in the mirror, I must admit, I was equally judgmental of my kids’ friends. I forget that making friends can be hard for some of us.
Jesus has just said, “I call you friends” (verses 14-15), and now he says, “And because you are my friends, the world will hate you!”
Choose your friends wisely.
John has. By now, you should be getting a sense of how John sees his best friend. Jesus has amazing power and amazing wisdom. He is fun to be around. Seriously. Want to go a wedding with Jesus? How about a picnic? How about a hospital?
I think about how I chose friends when I was young. It was people I could have fun with.
Today, as Jesus continues to pour into his disciples (those to whom he has said “I chose you”), he points out something critical.
To follow Jesus is to align yourself with God. To obey God. To obey His Word. When you do, the world will hate you.
Sorry, but it is true.
Just because the world hates you, doesn’t mean we should hate back. Jesus won’t. Jesus doesn’t. He loves the world and all its creatures. We must guard ourselves from shaking our fists at the world, or standing outside of it and judging it. Jesus will speak more about living in the world in chapter 17.
For now, I am struck by this idea of choosing your friends—I want to suggest like-valued friends. Why? Because there is a cost. Think back to a time you defended a friend of yours to another person. Friendship—true friendship—has a cost.
Pause and reflect on the all the time we spent in Chapter 14. Jesus is inviting us even deeper into relationship. He intermingles words such as friend, obey, and love.
Now he is essentially saying, “I chose you as my friends – I want you to be my friends. But just know: the world will hate you.”
There is an old phrase, “bait and switch”. It means someone lures you in with what seems like a great deal, and then, in the end, the deal you end up with is anything but good.
Sometimes Christianity is presented that way. People say, “Come to Jesus! Follow Jesus, and everything will be great!” And look, it will be great. You just need to define great. Great to most Americans means something like “We all get what we want.”
Jesus is simply being honest. He doesn’t use the “bait and switch” technique.
He calls you friend and invites you into a relationship with him.
Think about your friendships: past and present.
Do you want to call Jesus your friend?