“You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends for all that I have heard from my Father, I have made known to you.”-John 15:14-15
At first blush, we might read verse 14 and think that Jesus really doesn’t understand friendship at all. Pulled out of context, we might think that he sees friendship as conditional, like the 4-year-old who tells her playmate, “You cannot be my friend if you don’t play dolls with me,” but Jesus forces us to think deeper. When he told his followers that they were his friends if they did what he told them to, what did he mean?
I believe that Jesus was talking about heart change, essentially telling them, “In the past, you did things I told you to do even when you didn’t agree. Now you are becoming the type of people who do what I command without the need to be prodded. In becoming my friends, you will more naturally do the things that are consistent with my character.”
Dallas Willard often wrote and spoke about the dispositional change that happens as we grow in Christlikeness. In other words, we increasingly become the type of people who naturally do the things that Jesus would do. That is friendship with Jesus.
Jesus, I can become so messed up in my own thinking, burdening myself with shoulds and should-nots, but you call me friend. As your friend, shape me into the kind of person who will more naturally love the way you love. Amen.