Have you ever felt the sting of being betrayed by a trusted friend? There’s nothing sweeter than to have a friend whom you can confine in, a friend whom you can tell anything to…knowing they won’t hold it against you, or turn on you as soon as things don’t go his/her way. On the other hand, what misery it is to have cared for and trusted someone and to have them turn out to be unfaithful and untrustworthy. It’s wonderful to be able to rest in the tranquility of a good friend. But, what can you compare the pain to, when your friend turns on you and you receive a heart wrenching fall as the result of confidence…and you did nothing to deserve it. Have you ever had that happen? When people who should’ve stood by you dropped you like a hot potato when the chips were down; when you really needed a friend, you searched, but they’d done a disappearing act?
There is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother. You and I have both experienced that friendships in this world are very brittle. Just a little bump, a small jolt and they shatter to smithereens. But, the Bible tells us that “there is a friend that sicketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24). I can tell you firsthand about the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Since I’ve known Him, He has never once swerved, never turned His back on me and has never once changed. He has been a dependable trustworthy friend during all the events of my undependable untrustworthy life and circumstances. You could probably tell me the same thing about Him. How He has never ceased to love you, no matter what you did, even when you sinned, and brought yourself under condemnation, when you knew you were provoking Him, did He even once forsake you or give up on you? NO, not even once!
Even if you’ve backslidden, you can testify to the truth that Jesus is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. When you broke God’s word, when you ignored His dealings with you, when He sent His servant after you and you despised him, did He forsake you then? You have to shake your head “no”. When He humbled you, letting you hit bottom, and caused you to cry out for help…when He heard your cry and forgave you, has He left you since then? You might have left Him, but has He ever left you? Has He ever denied you His compassion or forgiveness? Has there ever been a time when you could go to Him and say, ‘Jesus, you let me down and left me without your help?’ After all your wanderings and after all His faithfulness, do you think that NOW He will leave you or forsake you? I think He won’t!
What makes Jesus such a good friend? First of all, He’s a straight shooter. He tells it like it is. If you’re like me, you probably have a hard time trusting people who never say things that they think you don’t want to hear. People who only tell you positive things, but then talk about you behind your back. Give me a choice, and I’ll take the person who will speak honestly, to my face, and say, “Steve, I don’t agree with what you just said, or did.” That person is a true friend. I trust a person like that because like that because he or she will never get any pats on the back for telling me my faults. It lets me know that he or she truly cares about me. Jesus is like that, too. Doesn’t Jesus also tell you when you’re doing wrong? Hasn’t He been totally up front with you? Hasn’t He touched your conscience when you started wandering and straying? Guess what? It means that you can trust Him, because He’s willing to tell you where you’re really at, how you’re really doing. He can pass the test of time. There’ve been a lot of people whom I thought were going to be my friends, but it didn’t work out. We’d hit it off, and they’d think I was a certain type of person, or I had different expectations out of them. Before long, we would discover that we really didn’t have the ingredients for a real, lasting friendship. For a real friendship, it takes years of being together, under all kinds of circumstances. Only after many years can you truly say that a person is a real and genuine friend.
How long has Jesus known you and stuck with you? He knew you and loved you when you we’re just a baby in a cradle, still wearing diapers! He’s loved you through all your teenage years and through all your craziness and insanities. He’s loved you, even when you were ignoring Him. Some friends drop you when they get to know what you’re really like. But Jesus knew from the beginning what you’re really like, and still chose, in advance, to love you. One other reason you can trust Him. There might be friends you have that’ll avoid you like the plague, if they find out some of the things that are in your life, but there’s no evil that Jesus can discover in you because He already knew it all in advance. There’s nothing worse you can do that He doesn’t already know about. Jesus knew all about us before we were even born, and He loved us anyway. He knew about your coldness of heart and still drew you close to Him. He knew how foolish we can be and still swore that He would never leave not forsake us. He knew that we would sometimes ignore Him and harden our hearts against Him. So, you can be sure that He will stick closer to you than a brother.
He has nothing to gain. You have nothing to lose. Jesus isn’t the kind of friend that you have to “buy”. Some people are takers. They’re your friend as long as they’re on the receiving end of the relationship. The minute you run out of resources, it’s “goodbye, sure has been nice knowing you!” Not Jesus. You came to Him with nothing to offer. You couldn’t even really promise Him your heart. You just needed help and He gave it. You say, “Yeah, but I’ve sinned, and I might sin a lot in the future.” True. But! You can’t sin more than He already foreknew. He knew in advance all the stunts and shenanigans you would pull, and still He loved you! When the time comes, you can be sure that He won’t be taken by surprise. Since He knew all about you, up front, He isn’t going to change His mind and decide that He doesn’t want to stick with you anymore. You need a friend in Jesus. As long as you’re alive, you’re going to need Him as your Friend. As long as you’re on earth, the devil is a sworn enemy. He hates you because Jesus Christ loves you. He’ll try to destroy you because Jesus has promised to save you. The devil hates you, but Jesus loves you.
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