October 1, 2021
The Kind of Friend I Want To Be
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"But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth." 1 John 2:20 (NIV)
My thumbs flipped through my phone to start scrolling social media. Without much thought of what would pass my eyes that morning, I was stopped when I saw the picture: a group of my old friends, all smiling and looking like they were having the best time celebrating a big life event together.
We all used to be good friends. Friends who, at one time, I would have expected to call me in a moment like this. Things were different now, and when I made some hard decisions to change the way I had been living, it put distance between us. I was still in touch with a few of them, but it wasn't the same.
No matter how much time has passed, the sting remains. It feels like rejection, and it's hard not to take it personally. Is it me? Did I say or do something to make them not include me? Do they not like me anymore? Or am I just not a cool enough friend to be included?
I found myself wrestling with all-too-familiar feelings of:
Not being the first choice ...
Not getting invited to the party ...
Being the last to know someone's big news ...
Only getting called in a crisis and not getting called to celebrate ...
In the middle of those emotions, I found myself remembering 1 John 2:20: "But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth."
The word "anointed" means "to be set apart." Meaning that, in Christ, we have the Holy Spirit and therefore are anointed. We have been given a mission to bring hope, freedom and Good News about who Jesus is to a world that desperately needs it.
What is the truth we know? The truth we know is found in the person of Jesus, who seemed to always get called. He got called when someone needed to be healed, (Mark 5:21-43) when the dead needed to be raised, (John 11:38-44) when the hungry needed to be fed (Matthew 14:13-21) and when someone's sin needed to be called out. (John 4) Most of the stories we read about Jesus involve Him stepping into a crisis and not a celebration. And many of the people Jesus was there for eventually turned away from Him, too.
Sometimes the whole "following Jesus" thing feels like it costs being the "cool" friend.
Even knowing all of this, it's easy to still want to be the kind of friend who is admired, included and fun. But what do I want more?
I want to be anointed more than I want to be admired.
I want to make an impact for the Kingdom more than I want to be included in earthly events.
I want my friends to experience freedom more than I want them to think I'm fun.
Can I tell you something else? Who you are is not found in what other people think of you; it's found in the person of Jesus and who God has called you to be.
We are called to be women who speak the truth in love, (Ephesians 4:15) who spur each other on (Hebrews 10:24) and encourage one another. (Hebrews 3:13) This doesn't mean we let people walk all over us; it means we have grace and seek friendships where both people are putting effort into the relationship.
The friendships you long for are possible.
Being set apart sets us up to be the friends who help set each other free. The friends who point each other back to our identities in Christ, who fight for each other and who stay when things get hard. The friends who try to live like Jesus.
This is the kind of friend I want to be.
God, thank You for the Truth You offer us in Jesus. Thank You that, even when rejection stings, You are there. Will You teach us how to be the type of friends You've called us to be? Will You provide the friends we need in this season? Show us how to live "set apart" even when it's hard. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Acts 10:38, "... God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him." (NIV)
Colossians 3:12, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (NIV)
What kind of friend do you wish you had? What kind of friend do you want to be? Let us know in the comments, and together, let's strive to be the best kind of friends!
© 2021 by Meghan Ryan. All rights reserved.