It is written in Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Jesus is our friend. He is the one friend born for our adversity. He foreknows us, foresees our depravity, foreloves us, lives for us, dies for us, prays for us, indwells us, sanctifies us, gifts us, works through us, and prepares for us our eternal abode. And the best part of this relationship is, Jesus is our friend who loves us “at all times.” There is no fickleness about his tender compassion. Whether we be good or ill, whether we be faithful or faithless, whether we be on our spiritual game or falling to pieces, his loving-kindness remains the same. There is no shifting or variations in his affections for us. What a friend we have in Jesus! This is Gospel truth.
Jesus deserves and delights in our friendship. This verse becomes our passion. Because, “a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity,” we should long to submit, serve, slave, and sacrifice for our best friend. Out of an internal motivation of unbridled love, we should be ready to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow him. And our commitment to befriend Jesus, even in adversity, should be “at all times.” How we should long to be great friends to our Savior. Oh, how fantastic it is to hear the Father, Son, and Spirit declare, “What a friend we have in [put your name here].” And this is indeed what the Father, Son, and Spirit say to one another because we are clothed and viewed in Christ’s righteousness. Jesus calls us friends because he has been and remains thoroughly friendly.
Jesus expects and enjoys seeing us be friendly to one another. Because we love his law and character, and because we are growing in knowledge, character, and skill, hs is helping us grow as friends to uor enemies, our neighbors, and especially to our brothers and sisters in the household of faith.
Therefore, as elders, let us reciprocate the love and show Christlike friendship to our flock. Let us pray that the Spirit will enable us to be ministers who a born for adversity and befriend at all times.
And as congregants, let us make it our act of worship to pour out unwavering affection in word and deed upon our brothers and sisters in the family of God.
Let us all praise, pray, and practice, for covenantal, unconditional, and unwavering friendship is the mark of Christ, the mark of Christ’s friends, and the mark of Christ’s communal family. Wanting to be friendly is something that must be added to our prayer and priority lists. Even right now, let us take a moment and ask the Spirit to lead us in how we can enjoy the friendship of Jesus, grow as more faithful friends of our Savior, serve as better friends to those in the house, and show forth the friendship of Jesus to those who remains friends of the devil.