Friends of the King
I have a friend that is a major league bragger! He will make sure you know that he knows people and that he’s highly connected! He’ll send me pictures of him with politicians, council members, lawyers, and anyone that is a decision-maker of any kind. Now, don’t get me wrong, he’s a good man: he’s reliable, always willing to help and an excellent person to know, should you need anything.
He’ll call me out of the blue and ask me how I’m doing and where I am and who I’m with. I answer him, knowing that what he wants me to do is ask him how he’s doing, where he is, and who he’s with. He’ll casually tell me that he’s at some Big Whig meeting somewhere getting paid overtime to hobnob with his organization’s upper echelon.
Now I know he means well, I also know that it’s also part of who he is, part of his culture to be a “modest bragger”: he’ll talk himself up but then immediately after he’ll tell you something like “yeah, well I’m sure you could do the same in my situation,” knowing fully well that someone else may not be able to.
I’ll remind him once in a while that he doesn’t need to keep this up with me and that we go way back, and he doesn’t need to validate himself to me constantly. He’ll immediately answer me back and say, “well, if I don’t brag, who will do it for me?”. I always find his answer very interesting: it’s immediate and the same every time.
Bragging to our friends
How about us as Christians: do we brag to the friends of our connections, of our inside scoop, our Friend in High Places? When was the last time you confidently and humbly told someone, “I am a friend of God; he calls me friend!” What brag could be more truthful, more worthy of boast, more favorable, more reliable than having the Creator of the Universe calling you “friend”?
Do we go around looking for an opportunity to share with friends about our most recent encounter with God and how He did something amazing in our lives, and how we’ve seen Him move? Do your friends and relatives know that you have a friend that sticks closer than a brother, a Strong Tower in times of trouble and ever-present Help in time of need? I can’t wait for God to complete work in my friend’s life! He will be a major league evangelist and preacher, and worker in the fields. If this is how he brags about the humans he knows, imagine what God can do with him?
What about us? What has God been able to do with us lately? Have you called a friend you haven’t heard from in a long time and shared how God brought you through that difficult time? Have you called your unsaved loved ones and needed to tell them of God’s Grace in your life? When your children are complemented by teachers and parents alike, do you take credit, or do you forward it immediately to where credit is due?
Have you ever been seen in broad daylight praying with your children before they enter the school building? Have you ever blasted Christian Music in your car rather than worldly songs? Have you ever stood on a street corner sharing tracks with a smile on your face and a song in your heart?
People need not only to hear that you have a friend in Jesus, but they need to want what you have! If we’re walking around down, defeated, depressed, tired, droopy, disheveled, no one is going to want anything to do with our Jesus! They’ll say, “If I believe in your Jesus, I can look forward to being like you? No thanks, I’m good!”
We need to live His grace daily! We need to be going around singing and smiling and praising God! If someone asks you how you’re doing, don’t necessarily tell them where you are: “oh, I’m having a rough day, week, month, year!”. Tell them what you are: “I’m blessed and highly favored!”, “God is good. I’m better than I deserve”. The Bible says, “let them see you…and they’ll glorify your Father in Heaven”.
A Light for our Friends
God has put us here to be a Light, a signpost, a compass, a guide, a road map always pointing to His Son: no matter what storm of life you’re going through, your attitude should be: “I am blessed beyond all measure!”. We are called to be the “Salt of the Earth”: we’re here to give the place some flavor! We are also not called to be “cookie-cutter” Christians.
God has created us all different because each of us has a different ministry: some of us are weird, nerdy, quirky, introverts: those brethren speak to people like them; others are loud, jocks, Prom Kings and Queens: they are called to witness to people like them; still others are debaters and philosophers and thinkers. Regardless of how you are, God has made you special to reach people not despite how you are, but because of how you are!
As friends of the King, we have a responsibility to be ambassadors for the Kingdom. Earthly ambassadors go out of their way to cast a good light on their nation even when something is wrong for all to see: it is called “saving face.” As citizens of Heaven, we have an advantage: our homeland has no downside! How much easier is our task than that of earthly ambassadors?! How can anyone speak ill of something with no downside? It’s like speaking ill of water!
Yet, people are always looking at what you’re doing. Notice how no one is looking to see if someone is a good Muslim, a good Hindu, a good Buddhist; no, everyone has their critical eye turned towards the followers of Christ. They are ready, willing, and able to cast doubt, blame ridicule; the Bible says that we are to expect it; since they did it to Jesus, how much more will it be done to us?
But being friends of the King is a privilege. Being ambassadors for Christ is an honor. We must muster ourselves up to not merely act the part but live it. A friend of mine was always fond of saying, “Life is an interview: dress accordingly.” The Bible teaches us that we should be “living Epistles, easily read of all men.” As Christians, we should carry ourselves in a manner that is befitting of our citizenship (Heaven), our bloodline (children of the Most High), our position (Holy Priesthood), and our destiny (co-heir with Christ).
When you start living according to who God created you to be and not what the devil and the world want you to believe, you will see amazing things happen in your life: blessings you weren’t expecting, favor you don’t understand, influence you can’t explain.
You were made to be so much more than, as C.S. Lewis would say, a “mere Christian.” You are an overcoming, a chain-breaking, a legacy-changing, marriage-restoring, blood-bought saint of the Living God, and no weapon formed against you shall prosper! We need to live this Christianity out loud with boldness and in love!
When I was just about 20, I remember a long time ago working at a branch of an overseas Italian Bank in the City. It took me a few days, but I got a good sense of people and started feeling very comfortable around them. As always, I smile a lot, laugh, tell jokes, do my work and go home. I didn’t advertise the fact that I was a Christian.
About a month or so in, I was having a conversation with a colleague, and the subject came around to religion. Both of us, being Italian she assumed I was Catholic. I politely responded and said in a very mousy voice, in Italian, “no, sono Vangelista,” which means “No, I’m an Evangelical.”
I will never forget her response. She took a breath, and with a very long “o” sound at first, she said, “that’s what’s different about you?!?” She was shell-shocked and relieved at the same time. She shared with me that she had finally figured out what the vibe she was getting from me that she couldn’t understand. She told me that “I knew you were different and weird, but in a good way.”
If she figured out that I was “different and weird” under all my sin and worldly living, how much more would she have been able to see if I had been living righteously. She saw, she felt, she sensed God’s anointing and presence in my life even when I was doing my best to hide it! She was able to read my “epistle” covered under all that gunk and soot and sin.
But the Bible teaches us that we are Royal Priesthood, a peculiar people: we can’t hide who we are anymore than a leopard can lose its spots or a camel hide its humps! We were created to shine. We were called to stand out. We were anointed to plant in every field and saved to harvest wherever possible!
Point People to Jesus
We are here to point people to Jesus; show them that there is hope, not just “beyond the clouds” but one that is real and practical and tangible, able to help in their everyday lives. We have to show them that there IS something about us, about our lives, in us, in our lives, that gives us an above-human strength to get up every morning and face life with a smile, a sincere smile and face life without fear, confident that life is good because God is good! People need to see us and want what we have!
The Bible teaches us that in the “presence of God, there is fullness of Joy.” People need to see in us that our old nature, our sadness, our faults, our sins, our depression, our lack, our struggles were already paid for in full on the Cross: sadness does come, but doesn’t have our permission to stay: lack may go, but it’s just a pit stop, it’s not the road God has for us; our old nature fights for a “comeback tour” but we don’t have to buy tickets to any of the stops; our seasons of depression is a surprise only to us, not God!
So, as the Apostle Paul teaches us, in ALL things, give thanks to God, knowing fully well that He is more than ready, more than Willing, more than Able, to do abundantly more than we could ever expect, imagine, or, most of all, deserve! People need to see that our connection, our friend, our “Only Phone Call,” our first Resume Reference is God the Almighty through His Son Jesus Christ.
When people say we can’t get that promotion, we need to be able to speak with boldness, “Once God makes up His mind, it’s a done deal!”; when they tell us we’ll never get that loan, we need to say, “No worries, the Owner of all things is a friend of mine!”; when they tell us you’ll never get into that college, we need to say “I’ll ask the Head Recruiter and see what He says!”.
Rain, shine, hail, drizzle, blizzard, earthquake, drought, flood: whatever circumstances we may have around us, we rise above them through our Lord Jesus Christ. And people will be able to see this best, not in our triumphs, but our defeats! It’s easy to be a “Fairweather Christian” all is well, so God is good. You need to turn that around: God is Good, so all is well.
If He leaves you out in the rain longer than expected, the job situation takes you beyond the unemployment checks. The illness needs an extra round of treatment. Marriage counseling needs more time. The kids are wondering off, will we still be faithful and say “All is well,” believing that God is in control of everything and has our very best in mind for us: will they see you preaching and praising them? When it counts? When it hurts? When it’s hard? When you can’t find the words, will you praise Him then? Will you say like Job, with a sincere heart, “Thou He slay me, yet will I trust Him!”.
When it’s pitch black, will you trust that a new day has begun even though you can’t see the sun? Will you walk in victory despite the circumstances shouting out defeat?
You see, people have had their fill of “Fair Weather Christians,” but deep down inside of them, God has put this yearning to want to hope for something better; they know that despite all our faults and all our mistakes along the way, Jesus is still the only answer to the void they feel inside, they want to see it done, they want to see what it looks like!
They want to know that it’s real. Believe me, when I tell you when they question things in their lives, they think of you when they come across a moral dilemma, they think of you when they encounter a new challenge, they think of you: what would Billy do in this situation, what would Jane say in this situation. We are called to let our “light shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in Heaven.”
Our Light is not our own. It was bought at a price, a price we could not pay for a debt He did not owe. God asks us: what will we do with that Light, what will we do about His Son; will we hide as I did for far too long, or will we stand and be counted like Joshua, like Caleb, like Stephen, like John, like Daniel. There isn’t a hole in Creation deep enough from which God cannot rescue and to which His Light cannot reach.
People want to, need to see us boast in the Lord: tell your friends, tell your family, tell your neighbors, tell your coworkers, “My God is Able” tell them that your smile, your sunny disposition, your faith, your Peace, your demeanor, your surrender, your reasonableness, are not yours; they were bought at a price.
Tell them that the Scandal of Grace is that freely it was given and freely you received it, and therefore freely you share it with them. Tell them there’s nothing they can do and nothing they have to do to earn it. Tell them that they too can claim their right to be called Sons and Daughters of the Most High, Heirs and co-Heirs with Christ, tell them they no longer have to live under the circumstances, but they can live above the circumstances.
Tell them that God is always Good and God is even if life isn’t fair. Tell them they too can be Friends of the King! Tell them that God loves them just the way they are and that they’re precious to Him, tell them that Jesus died for their sins so that they can finally be reconciled to their Maker; ask them to come just as they are, scars and all. Tell them to speak this simple Truth: “I believe that Jesus is Lord, the Son of God. I believe He died on the Cross for my sins.
I believe that God the Father raised Him from the dead”. Tell them that this simple Truth, this only Truth, has set them free! Free from who they were, from who they thought they needed to be, who they were told to be, who they wanted to be, who they thought they wanted to be. Tell them that now their life starts anew! Tell them that they are renewed, redeemed, restored, reborn: indeed, born again! And if you receive this, let it be done as you have said, in Jesus’s name, Amen!
Bondservant to Jesus Christ, Married to Michele, Dad to Madelyn, Claudia, and Joseph and educator by trade, apologist by calling and saved by Grace. Antonio loves to read, write, and discuss all-things-apologetics. He has many passions in life including reaching, teaching, and keeping men for Jesus Christ. Waiting on God’s big reveal: Antonio knows He has something beautiful in mind.