Open Heavens Devotional by Pastor E.A. Adeboye
MEMORIZE: “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” (2 Cor. 12:15).
READ: 2 Corinthians 12:13-16
“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” (John 3:29).
According to John the Baptist, it is possible to be a friend of the Bridegroom—Jesus Christ. How? By loving and keeping His commandments (John 14:15). It is not enough to love and obey Him occasionally, that love and obedience must be sustained. If your love for Jesus has dwindled or your obedience is now selective, it is doubtful if you are a friend of the Bridegroom. In John 15:14, the Lord Himself said His friends are those who wait on His Word, live by His Word and leave nothing out. If there is an instruction the Lord gave to you which you have failed to obey, it puts your friendship at risk. Can the Lord look at you and call you His friend?
According to the experience of John the Baptist, the friend of the bridegroom stands by him and hears him. Your first duty as a friend of Jesus is to stand by Him. At a most crucial moment of His life, the Lord Jesus Christ took members of His inner circle of friends, Peter, James and John, to the garden of Gethsemane and told them to watch with Him –that is to stand by Him (Matt. 26:36-40). How can you stand by Him today? In 2 Corinthians 12:15, Paul says, “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved”. From the above scripture, Paul was prepared to sacrifice all he had for the good of the Corinthian church. He was ready to give all He had, not expecting a commensurate level of return. Many a time, we would offer to help those who appreciate our help, but may not help those who fail to do so. To stand by the Lord today entails standing by His children—our fellow brethren. It means giving all it takes to make them what God wants them to be. If a brother loses a loved one but has no money to conduct the burial, the others should rally around him, raise the money and cover his nakedness. If a brother gets into trouble—maybe he is arrested, and appears helpless, it is the duty of the other brethren around him to secure his bail through the help of a lawyer. What you do for your brethren is done for the Lord. Have you seen your brother in some need? Did you hide yourself from him? From today, stand by the Lord and the brethren!
Your ability to stand by Christ is determined by how much you stand by fellow believers in times of need or distress. Ask for the grace to stand by Christ always.
Bible in One year: Col. 3-4