There is a great difference between a slave and a friend. A slave simply does what he is told. He is very different from his master and has no close personal relationship with him. He is just under his authority. A close friend, on the other hand, is close to the heart of his friend and shares his visions. Jesus the Messiah wants to have close friends and not just servants. Before he began teaching and doing miracles in public, Jesus first of all chose for himself twelve disciples whom he trained to be like himself, to be his close friends.
As believers we can choose slavery or friendship. This is a matter of daily attitude but also a lifetime journey. Jesus wants friendship. Which will we choose? Friendship is the way of spiritual maturity and also the way of intimacy. If we do not take that step to be "close" to Jesus, we will not achieve that closeness in our relationship with him. In other words, we must persist in prayer and in righteousness, for in that way we will be able to get closer to Jesus.
But there is another side to this coin. Jesus says that the one who loves him will obey his commands and do his deeds. The gospels clearly show us Jesus' example. He prayed, acted according to love, sacrificed, clung to the will of his Father, helped those in need, worked miracles, and called his people to repentance.
Jesus invested in his disciples so that they could be his friends. One thing Jesus repeatedly taught his disciples was that they should broaden their faith. Our human nature generally limits our faith! Will we choose his way today and believe him for more? Jesus calls us today to be his friends and to bear fruit.
My prayer, dear God, is that I may be like Jesus. Forgive me for my lack of faith. In your name I want to ask for greater things than I have asked until now. I ask today for much faith, that I may be Jesus' close friend.
- 19 AUGUST -