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Keep your Friends Close, Keep Jesus Closer

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January 22, 2024

The love, reliability, forgiveness, counsel, transformative impact, feedback, and correction of a Good Friend is a blessing. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friendship is essential for our emotional well-being, personal growth, and overall quality of life.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. — Proverbs 17:17

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. — Proverbs 18:24

One who forgives an affront fosters friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend. — Proverbs 17:9

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. — Proverbs 27:9

We see that friendship is an amazing gift. All through Scripture and history, we see the role that friendship has played: David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1-3), Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 2:49), David and Ittai (2 Samuel 15:19–21), David and Hiram (1 Kings 5:1,7), Naomi and Ruth, Job and his friends (Job 2:11–13), Paul, Priscilla, and Aquila (Romans 16:3–4), etc.

Having seen the role of friendship, we can agree on its importance. Proverbs 18:24b says there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother—let’s welcome our Lord, Jesus Christ. On this premise, I present my case to keep Jesus Closer.

The dimension I want to explore with this is to show that Christ wants to be closer to us than our closest buddies. In John 15, we see that Christ is the true vine and the Father is the Gardener: the Father is after our productivity as believers, and this fruitfulness is hinged on how connected we are to the Vine (vs. 1–8). We stay clean because of the quality and quantity of the Words of Jesus we interface with (vs. 3). How we remain in the love of Jesus is by keeping his Commands (vs. 9–10). The amazing thing is that the more you keep Jesus close, the more you can walk in love with people (vs. 17).

Our proximity to Jesus Christ helps with our transformation into his image (2 Corinthians 3:18).

John 6:21 (NKJV);

Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

The success of their trip was because of their willingness to receive Jesus in that situation.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. — Acts 4:13–13

The source of this boldness was attributed to their interactions with Jesus.

This is the Year of His Fragrance—we would do a better job of dispensing his Fragrance if we had him closer. The purpose of our appointment/salvation/calling is that we should be with Him first. The people who would do a better job of making manifest His Fragrance are those who have been in steady communion with him. Fellowshipping with him is how we move from being called to being chosen. Like Peter and John before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4), speaking with courage even though they were unschooled, ordinary men. They could do this because they had been with Jesus.

We see in Galatians 3:27:

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Then the Church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:20) lets us know that even though the believer might have put on Christ, consciously Christ might just still be at the door of their hearts, knocking because they haven’t given Him free reins. Maybe you have made Him your special adviser on only Spiritual matters. Jesus is not good on religious matters ONLY — He is the word that God used in framing the Worlds (Hebrews 11:3). For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist (Colossians 1:16–17).

Lorokan, He is the LORD over all. ALL means ALL. Say to yourself, All means All, and Jesus is Lord over All. If He shares an insight on a matter, you can bank on it. Christ wants to fill up every area of our lives: he doesn’t take sides, He wants to take over. He wants to fill up every area of our lives: our Finances, Mental Health, Spiritual Growth, Family, Career, Personal Development, Environment, Relationships, Physical health, Career and Business, Hobbies, Social Connection, Well-being, Community, Friendships, Fun and Recreation, etc.

You get the drift, he wants to be so close that when people see you — they see HIM. Let Christ dwell in your heart by Faith, and stay rooted and grounded in the Love of God.

On this note, I believe my assignment is done for today.

Let’s round off with the hymn by Joseph M. Scriven, it comes in handy here:

What a friend we have in Jesus

All our sins and griefs to bear

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit

O what needless pain we bear

All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer

Grace, Growth, and Glory.

Pastor Ayomide Arowele

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