The Play. Story. Eat. Vision: that every person in the Americas has a friend who loves Jesus.
A FRIENDSHIP DIAGNOSTIC!
Taking a page from the Play. Story. Eat. Experience, how good of a friend are you really? Are you loving your friends like Jesus? How can you know?
In the training, we offer a diagnostic tool to help us see how we are doing in our love for God, others, and ourselves. Here is the one related to friendship.
Choose a current relationship. Evaluate yourself by marking the number on the scale that reflects your heart attitude in relation to that person.
In relation to _________: Am I ...??
Accepting 6 5 4 3 2 1 Judging
Inviting 6 5 4 3 2 1 Rejecting
Connecting 6 5 4 3 2 1 Avoiding
Investing in Them 6 5 4 3 2 1 Using Them
Interpreting My Score
If you score a 4 or higher on most of these questions, you see yourself as a good friend. Great! Read on to see how it could be even better. If you are at 3 or less, you have some sticking points that are holding you back, but if addressed, you could greatly improve the quality of your friendships.
We Can Become "True" Friends
In a world where people often advise us to "fake it 'til you make it," few of us get to the roots of what helps us truly become more like Jesus in our friendships. We tend to focus on tips and techniques that help us act a certain way instead of looking inside of ourselves and asking who we need to become in order to be a really good friend.
It's A Matter of the Heart
When Jesus teaches about relationships, He addresses the heart first. A striking example of this was when some religious and uptight folks threw a woman caught in the act of adultery before Jesus (John 8). These self-righteous people were certainly judging her, rejecting her, and the only reason they weren't avoiding her was so they could use her to trap Jesus in some misstep. Their scores on our test would have been at a 1 on every question!
Jesus scribbled in the dirt and after a pregnant pause, rose up. "Here is a stone," he waved in front of her accusers. "He that is without sin cast the first stone!"
From oldest to youngest they dropped their rocks and went their way. "Where are your accusers?" Jesus finally asked the woman. "Has no one condemned you?"
"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
What I "Do" Naturally Flows from My Heart
Notice how brilliant Jesus' way is. After zeroing in on the heart and exposing that reality, the actions for everyone involved became very clear. Arrogant judges walked away. A woman caught in a sinful cycle was given a new start and a way to leave her sinful past behind.
In Jesus' case, He
- connected with, and
- invested in
this objectified woman. He had the heart of a true friend. But notice that he wasn't "nice." He confronted and dealt with the sinfulness of all involved, but he did it with love, truth, and grace.
When our actions are congruent with the heart of a good friend (the 4 words on the left areas), we become great friends and are not tripped up by our blindness in thinking that we are friendly when we aren't.
Today I will be a good friend by...
Pick one of your answers above that reveals a heart issue that is holding you back in your friendship. Ask God to reveal a small step you can take in the direction of being more like Jesus in that one area.
Do you have that step clearly in mind now? Can you see yourself doing that thing with the heart of a true friend? Great! If you have a breakthrough, don't keep it to yourself. Let us know!
10:02 PRAYER (LUKE 10:2)
Thank God for the celebration of our Kekchi brothers in the jungle of Guatemala. I just spoke with Cesar last night. One of our first churches that started about 15 years ago was celebrating their anniversary. They had more than a thousand people attend! Given that this village has about 200 people in it, this was a huge feat! Many from the region came to join them. They slaughtered a cow, and I'm told that many Catholics were welcomed and attended the celebration. The buzz going through the jungle is that both Catholics and Evangelicals enjoyed sitting down to a meal together. Pray for continued unity and winsomeness in their witness and faith in Jesus.
Many of you have responded so graciously to our recent letter inviting you to financially support this ministry--especially as Bill and I go full time in it. Thank you! And may your tribe increase!
For the past year, Virginia Jones has been making potholders with her friends to help us share the message of salvation with women in Guatemala. If you would like to know more about this or you have an idea that you want to whiz by us, let us know!