Greater Love
Luann Prater

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 (NIV)

I'm a killer. Yes, you read that right. I'm laying it out there and admitting it. Although, it's probably not what you think ... I've been a friendship-killer for much of my life.

I've wondered if it is from my dysfunctional home life as a kid. We moved annually, which meant a different school every year until I was a teenager. For an extremely shy girl this was terrifying. Dread and cold sweats came the night before I had to face another new classroom, new stares, new whispers and new giggles.

The layers built up; I figured it didn't really matter if classmates liked me because I probably wouldn't be there long anyway. Occasionally I would open up just a bit. Then Mom would say, "Pack up," and along with the boxes, my heart would seal up too.

It just hurt too much to hope that friendships could ever last. I was certain they couldn't, so I killed them before they ever developed deep. End it now before I'm too invested, was my mindset.

Maybe you know exactly what I'm talking about. We can fool ourselves into thinking that we don't need to open up and risk the pain of rejection or the devastation of potential loss.

Girlfriend, let me tell you what I discovered. The apostle John paints a portrait of a warm, real Jesus. Through that portrait Jesus reached out to me. He came into my heart and at that moment the love of the Savior began changing my life. I now have a greater love. I have found the same living water that Jesus offered to the woman at the well in the gospel of John.

It's been a spring welling up to eternal life! And I've discovered that when you begin to live that effervescent life, it becomes contagious! The joy that bubbles up from the inside cannot be hidden. Others are drawn to you and wonder how you can have joy in all circumstances.

And then it happens. Friendships develop. The old me would shut down, walk away or sabotage a relationship. I just didn't think I had what it takes to keep a friendship alive and healthy. And I don't, but God does. The new me embraces friends!

Maybe you've struggled with friendships. God crossed our paths today on purpose. He is asking us to take a risk. Let your guard down and love, as He loved us.

Dear Lord, thank You for loving me and teaching me how to welcome friends into my life with a greater love. Open my mind to see beyond myself today and take the risk of relationships built on You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

A Life That Says Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others by Karen Ehman

I'll Bring the Chocolate: Satisfying a Woman's Craving for Friendship and Faith Karen Porter

Visit Luann’s blog and Encouragement Café!

When a Woman Meets Jesus: Finding the Love Every Woman Longs For by Dorothy Valcarcel

Application Steps:
Read John 4.

Ask God to open your heart to His greater love. Slip on your God goggles and look for hurting hearts around you today.

What relationship does God want to grow in my heart?

When will I take the risk?

How can I reach out to someone with greater love today?

Power Verses:
Matthew 19:19b " your neighbor as yourself." (NIV)

Luke 6:27 "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you." (NIV)

© 2010 by Luann Prater. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wow, this is such a great message for me! I have always struggled with keeping good friends around. I've sometimes thought that is their fault for breaking the ties and sometimes I've just come to the realization that I have trouble making and keeping good friendships. A lot of times I feel alone. Although my husband is always there for me and he's is my best friend this is different and I have always longed for a best woman friend to be truly open and accountable with. I'm tired of having meaning-less relationships that don't last. I'm ready to accept the challenge of asking God to help me and start praying for these friends that I currently have and for our friendship to grow deeper in Him. Thank you for this word. May God bless you abundantly!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, Amen & Amen! Thanks so much for this inspiring message! God has perfect timing always!
Here I thought it was them.. That they just didn't want to be friends..or that I was just chosing people who were not compatible with me, my likes & dislikes, but all along, it has most likely been ME... I am slipping on my God Goggles today... and looking for others who may be a friend in need...
May God richly bless you!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am uncertain how to make/keep healthy friendships. At one point in my life I realized that my current friendships revolved around unhealthy (co-dependent) ties and I sadly had to dissolve them...but have been uncertain how to start up new friendships. People seem too busy to be friends. I am quite open with those I meet but somehow it never seems to develop into a substantial friendship.

Prayers needed for God to open my eyes to what He would like me to have in relation to friendships, and inner healing, if necessary so that when I see an extention of true friendship, I can know what it is.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prayers needed for me as well for God to open my eyes to what He would like me to have in relation to friendships. I struggle with feeling alone and long for a true friend. Please Lord send a Christian friend my way and help me to be the kind of friend You want me to be.

Blogger wanderluster said...

Oh my! What perfect timing! Just last night I admitted to a new friend of mine of this ongoing struggle. I long for true friendships, but deeply fear abandonment. I hope we can all find a friend who not only loves, but truly cares as well. Thank you for sharing this :)

This message really spoke to my insecurities in a developing friendship right now. Thank you for posting this - I needed it.

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