By Jonathan Moseley
Friendships are man made. We make them. But they find their origin in God. They were his idea thought up in his infinite wisdom. They are gifts from him for us. And the ultimate reason for why they exist—if we embrace God’s purpose for them—is so that our joy of him might expand as we experience him with others. What’s better than a joy experienced alone? A joy experienced with someone else—a sharing of that joy. Our joy in God is multiplied when we experience him with someone else. Loving him, knowing him, and enjoying him should be the aim of all friendships. Not all of our relationships have Christ as their foundation, but the more Christ is treasured in our friendships, the closer we move to fulfilling God’s design for them.
A beautiful story that illustrates living out God’s design for friendships is found in Mark 2:1-12. I encourage you to read the story at length, but let me share the highlights. A paralytic was brought to Jesus by four friends in hopes Jesus would heal him. But there was a big problem. Because of the large crowds gathered around Jesus inside the house, there was no room for these four friends to get close to him. So, with great faith and determination, they made their way to the roof, made an opening, and lowered their paralytic friend to Jesus.
And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (v.5). He also said to him, “I say to you, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all [the crowd] amazed and glorified God” (v.11-12).
Why does Jesus heal this paralytic? On account of their faith. The faith expressed by the paralytic’s friends moved Jesus to heal him. These friends stopped at nothing to make sure their friend got to the person he needed to see most. This is what good friends do. If you’ve ever wondered how to stay faithful to God in your friendships, that's it: bring them to Jesus. So, whenever we get together with others, in whatever we may be doing, and in wherever we may be going, we fulfill our role in the friendship when Jesus is the focus.
Good Friday is around the corner. This is a special opportunity for us to invite our lost friends to hear about Jesus’ love firsthand. Like the men on the roof, may we exercise our faith on their behalf. Yes, there may be obstacles, but may our love for them give us boldness and determination to bring them to the person they need most. As we step out in faith, Jesus might just do a miracle for them like he did for the paralytic.
Jonathan Moseley is the Director of Community and Operations.