"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called ye out of darkness, into His marvelous light."I Peter 2:9

ISSUE TEN

Friend

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." John 15:12-15

I use to think that laying down my life was doing something that would cause my death, but verse 14 says; "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you." Did you ever do something that your friends wanted to do rather than what you really wanted to even though what they wanted to do did not appeal to you at all?

Laying down our life is like that sometimes who we are our desires and opinions, those things that make up who we are, laying them down for someone else.

Jesus is asking us to do whatever he commands us. He said love your neighbor as yourself, love even your enemies, to do good to all men.

"Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. " John 3:28-31

He must increase but I must decrease, Christ has to become more and more in our lives every day. Every day we must add more of the Lord and as we allow Christ to increase, there will be things that we will have to let go of or put aside. We will have to lay down our life to allow the Lord to be more and more in our life.

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:24-26

If we come after Him or if we follow Him then we need to deny ourselves, our attitudes, our wants, what we want our life to become.

If we save our life, if we live our life for ourselves then we are saving it but if we lay it down for Christ, our friend, or if we lose it for His sake then we will find our purpose here in this life. We will find what the Lord's will is for us.

If we were to gain the whole world, all the wealth, possessions, and recognition for our accomplishments, but lost our own soul what would we gain? To gain everything in this life but make no provisions for the life to come, would be a waste of our life here on earth. Wouldn't it be better to live eternally and save our soul?

"I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." John 10:14-18

Jesus, being a good shepherd, laid down His life for the sheep. He said the Father loved Him because He laid down His life. The Father will also love us for laying down our lives. Jesus also said that He had power to lay His life down; no man could take it but He could give it up and He had power to take it again. Likewise we have power to lay down our life and if we lay it down for Christ's sake, He will give us the power to take up a new life in Him: One without sin, one that will be meaningful in this life. So lay your life down for a Friend, one that sticks closer than a brother Jesus.     from Martin Spearman


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