What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Today I opened a journal I kept while being a live-in student at Pure Life Ministries and read the first entry.   This is what I wrote my first full day there, dated November 4, 2011: 

“Today I had my orientation with counselor Brother Ken. I can tell that this place will be a challenge for me. I’m hearing a lot about a ‘personal relationship with Jesus.’ I’m not sure I understand that language anymore….”

Looking back, it wasn’t just the language I didn’t understand.  I didn’t understand how that could happen nor why it mattered.   

Nearly 3 years later I can say without hesitation that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ has made all the difference in the world.   Years of self-indulgence had made me callous to such talk and in my “theologically educated” mind such language lacked rigorous thought.  God, for this addict, was an objective reality for me to teach, preach, and debate about and was on my side irrespective of my ability, even desire, to know Him.   People who spoke of a “personal relationship with Jesus” were depending on feelings rather than faith.  

That’s exactly what someone without a personal relationship with Jesus would presume.  

What flipped the switch for me was an honest inquiry on my part which began soon after that journal entry above.   I prayed, “God, do you want to be my friend?  Do you want me to be Yours?”  

As I began reading the Bible straight through – not to preach it, teach it, or debate it but just to eat it, digest it, and live it – I saw a God aggressively seeking an intimate friendship with His creation.  I read how The Lord would speak to Moses “as a man speaks to a friend” (Ex. 33:11), or how God gave land to Abraham, “his friend” (2 Chron. 20:6-8).  And of course Jesus called those who were his disciples his friends (Luke 12:4; John 15:15).

hug

It became abundantly clear to me that God desired friendship with me.  With us all.   But what was preventing this from being a real in my own life?   The answer came from the same source:

The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant (Psalm 25:14)

 

You are my friends if you do what I command you (John 15:14).

My life of self-will, bolstered by my self-reliance in my education, was blocking me from the benefits of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.   I was not his friend because I did not fear him nor did I obey him.   I proclaimed him and debated him, but I did not know him nor love him.  

Admitting this to myself and to God was the first step in my recovery.   It opened a whole new world which I thought was beneath me.  My friendship with Jesus has sustained me these past 3 years, helping me to forsake the idols of my eyes and heart.    And like any good friend, he’s with me every step of the way, teaching, guiding, loving, disciplining, nurturing, and blessing.  What a friend I have found in Jesus!

May the words of this wonderful hymn encourage you to seek him today as your most needed, and most cherished, Friend.  

  1. What a friend we have in Jesus,
    All our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
    Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
    Oh, what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
  2. Have we trials and temptations?
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Can we find a friend so faithful,
    Who will all our sorrows share?
    Jesus knows our every weakness;
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
  3. Are we weak and heavy-laden,
    Cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior, still our refuge—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
    Take it to the Lord in prayer!
    In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
    Thou wilt find a solace there.
  4. Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
    Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
    May we ever, Lord, be bringing
    All to Thee in earnest prayer.
    Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
    There will be no need for prayer—
    Rapture, praise, and endless worship
    Will be our sweet portion there.

 

 

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One thought on “What a Friend We Have in Jesus

  1. Thanks Chad for sharing this very encouraging word of your testimony. Ii is interesting also to note that some people want the benefits of Christianity, but they don’t want the relationship with Him. For example, who doesn’t want to go to heaven? Everyone wants to go there, but they don’t necessarily care to know the One who loves them and who created heaven for all those who love Him and know Him.

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