John 15:14
You are my friends if you do what I command.
My husband and I celebrated a milestone anniversary this year. He and I have a lot of years invested in our relationship. We met when I was in seventh grade. We became friends in our church youth group and did a lot together in our large group.

I like reading books and seeing movies where friends turn to each other and fall in love. I have a long list of favorite movies, but two on the list are Gigi and Sabrina (with Harrison Ford). In these two movies, the hero has been around the heroine long enough to know her really well. Over time, their relationship changes, and he realizes that she’s the only one who could make him happy.

Since I’ve experienced a relationship like that, I want to encourage all couples to be friends first. I know how stabilizing that kind of a relationship is. A friendship is even important to God.

Jesus, knowing what he was about to do for his friends, gave them a command to love each other as he has loved them. That apparently wasn’t strong enough for them to really understand what he meant. The next verse was stronger. He told them, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Few people would willingly lay down their lives for strangers or even neighbors they’d barely met. I think a man would more likely sacrifice his life for his friends. If I had only gone on one date with my husband instead of marrying him, he wouldn’t give up his life for me. The deepening of our relationship over time has created such a closeness between us that I would believe my husband’s words if he ever told me that he’d lay down his life for me.

Once the disciples heard this life-threatening commitment of love, they understood what he meant when he said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.”

Will you accept that kind of friendship with God? Tell him.

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