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I CALL YOU FRIENDS

We all make friends, have friends, befriends and also unfriend. It then may not be necessary to define whom a friend is, even kids have friends.



But what happens when a father, a mother, a brother or a sister, someone whose blood runs through your vein now call you a friend. I would normally think they were already closer than a friend, does it then not mean they have then weakened the relationship?



The scriptures suggests otherwise.


“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” —Proverbs 18:24


Sticks closer! Meaning this one friend bonds even thicker than blood. Hey! Reminds me of the God of Abraham. Of who the scriptures says would talk to him as a friend. And one of such chats led to negotiating the barbecue of Sodom and Gomorrah, “And the Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing?’ Verse 17 of Genesis 18. Give it a go. In verse 19, God said He know him. To the extent that James, in verse 23 of his second chapter remarked that Abraham believed in God ... and was called the friend of God. Let’s for once lay aside the lofty title of being the father of faith and blazing the trail of the pantheon of sacrifices, he was Called A Friend. One whom God wouldn’t hide what He would do from. Oh! Secrecy, trust, codes, passwords, bring it on!




That only reminds me of untold secrecy kept off between siblings. Shame, the first blood brotherhood on earth became bloody, a murder from grim envy. The likes of which makes remain Solomon true, saying that, “a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” —Proverbs 17:17. Here is a touch of something thicker than blood. I wouldn’t ever have imagine that the heart of a father can be against the son; the enemy of a man can be those of his household, that a mother can by any margin of possibility forsake her suckling child, such as some even ate them up in order to stay alive, once upon a time in famine in Israel. You tap your bible again at such reads and double check it’s non-fiction! If those scriptures are familiar, then they resonate that something might indeed just be stronger than family bond.




Come to Job and wife.  You can understand her anger when she said curse God and die, she had just lost all her children. Ten at once, struck dead by a castle sweeping gust, in one whiff!  No one would ever want to be in her state. But job cursing God and dying also meant her being a widow. It was such an upturn that if happened today, we judge of a wealth acquired by voodoo. Great to know she didn’t divorce him, she was there throughout, sat by, however frustrated. But there was more to human presence that kept Job going. His friends!



Now you don’t want to go into that. Guinness record of 7 wordless days and night, followed by clangs of tongues as blades of darting swords. The arguments between them that logged into chapters can tell you how much secrets they have exchanged growing up. Lashes as were justification, brags with condemnations, and sheer insensitivities. Even if they ended up looking more of undertakers than mourner they set out to be, they were there just when he needed them the most. The closing of of Job's story is what I love the most.

And the Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before - Job 42:10. Friends, Not self, wife or lost kids.



David and Jonathan comes easily to mind next.

Scriptures says David loved him as his own soul. You don’t want to miss the soul knitting friendship covenanted in 1 Sam. 18: 1-4. It mattered not what Jonathan’s father, Saul the king would do to hunt him afterwards. Jonathan as well didn’t bait David to be easier spear target for his father. Not even when you expect the crown tussle to come in between friends. Especially at a time when David was the one anointed, Jonathan the crown Prince. Fast forward, by the time David heard of his death, he killed the man that broke the news. He called Jonathan the mighty. Hear from the  eulogy right from horses mouth, “Your love to me was wonderful, Surpassing the love of women.”



Now we are getting there. David was ladies man. And for him to regard his loyalty to Jonathan above women, you should know there’s more to friendship than sexual.



Sadly, same David had a son Abssalom who was far from being a friend. He lacked in his son everything he was to Jonathan. A friend. Whereas Jonathan wasn’t after the throne or out to help his friend kill his father to usurp the throne either for himself or him, Abssalom was all that and one to David. He was all out to kill the king, his father when he died. The question again, could anything be thicker than blood? I bet your answer would a bit softer now. Perhaps there is. Which explains should blood ties become blood shed, God would rather cut the tie with only something that could bond better. Such that when bloodline stands in the way of life and eternal life, God was for severance, saying, if a man will follow me, he would have to deny his mother and father, even himself. To the extent of getting on without an unfriendly eye. Perhaps why He said he would turn the heart of the fathers to sons and those of the sons to fathers. And isn’t it true, how partners or spouses are chosen from friends, over siblings at marriage? A man shall leave his father and mother and stick to his wife. There's A friend that sticks closer! So we might then want to know what Jesus meant by a friend. Jesus obviously saw this last days when in Mark recorded Him in chapter 13:12 of his book saying, “Now, the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.”



I believe strongly that the take away from this edition to someone is how to befriend their children, spouse, parent or non bloody relatives if so be it that they are part of the family but not yet friends.



Back to us. We have been called sons and daughters of God, adopted into the lineage of God, we have been called all forms of titles, the called and the chosen among the called, believers and disciples, Kings and priests, royals, pastors, evangelist, apostles, bishops, teachers, preachers, and the kingdom of God resides in each of us for this and more, but above all, Jesus still said, I called you friends.



Why? I called you friends because you know what I do, not just what I say. “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” - John 15:15.

I can keep reading that scripture for the rest of my life. Remember Abraham was also called a friend of God and knew what God would do. A friend is a confidant and one who knows your next move. One who holds your secrets, in good or bad times. Do you know what God is doing now? I bet He wants you that close. To be able to reason together, to walk the talk with Him like Enoch until you are no more in flesh.




Have you ever wondered, of the 12 disciples Jesus called, and anointed that only 3 were closer in the ring of friends. It shows that while God relates to us all same way, we reciprocate differently. Of His disciples, not all were close enough to make it to the mount of transfiguration, to see Moses and Elijah for real. The same three were selected by Him to raise Jarius’ daughter, in thonging crowd. You can easily guess that Judas wasn’t among. You know, it’s not uncommon to have a fiend among friends, and we wouldn’t be talking about hundreds of verses that speak of ungodly friendship in this edition, unfortunately.



Who then made the cut? You can be sure John the Beloved whose head was often nursed on Jesus chest was in. Peter without a doubt, the rock and definitely James, the one who would be the first martyr, stoned to death at the feet of Saul going to be Paul without knowing. Jesus could bank on them in times of trouble as well when he asked them to pray for Him in Gathsemane. God-with-us asking for a prayer from friends. Shows a friend is one who sticks closer than blood.  The same three at the mount of transfiguration, were now put to test at Gethsemane. A friend would be there at the peak, plain and at the base. Although, they failed like the rest. Point is, a friend is someone you could bank upon. Though his eyes couldn’t watch them coming or his mouth pray then down, Peter would draw the sword in front of the battalions coming to arrest Jesus.



Of all the three, on the rock tense day, when the world superpower was going to strike a 33 year old shepherd to the cross publicly for no just cause, where Peter recoiled in his denial, James perhaps running for dear life as other disciples, John stood to His last words. The longest living of all, bearing the grace of being the hardest to kill. John the beloved whom Jesus would reveal Behold I’m Coming Quickly to later, was the last standing at the foot of the cross. A friend is one who get fried with you to the end. Nonetheless Mary, you can tell Jesus’ mother was a friend, she believed from his conception, even when Jesus brother didn’t believe Him, she didn’t fall to the familiarity trap. Like Abraham who believed in God, she was a believing friend, from wedding at Cana to the crucifix and Jesus could hand over her mother to a friend’s care; mother look at your son, son look at your mother, no blood ties between them, except that of Christ, Mary and John. A friend is one who believes you.




Jesus primed the tag of friendship on the price of love, “greater love had no man than this, than to lay his life for his friends.” We have seen that blood lines can cut off another, how about when relatives die for loved ones? Perhaps it’s understandable while blood relatives can give their life for another. So, Jesus said a friend by His own standard can also give it, and if not this, what is the peak of life giving?



He died for His friends first even before we became His bride, so that Paul can also say that He laid down his life for the church. Maybe that’s why we marry our best friends, someone we could lay down our lives for. Unfortunately, there are couples who aren’t best friends, only marry for posterity and sexual reasons. A friend knows. Our last edition was all about knowing. God knew Abraham. However separated in terminal trials of fiery furnace and lions' den, imagine how much of the three Hebrew brothers Daniel knew while in the kings court, requesting them to be placed as provincial highs. A friend is one who knows and cares.



No deep secret of the kingdom Jesus wouldn’t reveal.

“…For ALL things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you…”

Even those in future time capsule to John the Beloved, His coming and beyond, except one -- the very date of His return. And that was only because He didn’t know as in flesh. Perhaps the God father the Spirit knew Jesus the son part of himself would tell the disciple the day he would return while on earth and so didn’t reveal to Himself in the flesh. The key here is friendship beyond the bond of blood. And even, if you are not married, intending to or not, Jesus is saying, a friend is one could lay down their lives. He did it already for you.


Who again would Jesus call a friend? Anyone who accepted His friend request. How do I know that, we are first the friend of Christ before we are His bride as a church either jews or Gentiles. Greater love has no man, Figuratively, while John the Baptist has been suited theologically the best friend of the bridegroom being a forerunner of to Christ seeking a lost bride in us, we are first Christ’s friend before becoming His bride as church. If you haven’t felt you merit that closeness, to hold His kingdom secret, stick closer in tough times, or give your life, none of us was or did qualified. He is called the friends of sinners, to make them friends of righteousness.



He had called you a friend, He can make you all these and more. Give your life to Him for real, stick closer and hold the secret things of the kingdom like never before.



I call you friends.


—Olusola Olusanya, Topical Writer



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