I am taking an 11 week long Ladies' Bible Study at our church on "Covenant" (by Kay Arthur). I really had NO idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up for this thing. I knew that it would be a good way to meet other stay at home wives/moms in our church and would hopefully help me grown in my walk with God.
Well, I am here to tell you that I never expected what I have received from the study so far. We started out talking about covenants made in the Bible (between men and other men or between men and God-like when God promised Abraham that he would be the Father of many nations through a child with Sarah, when God promised to save Noah and his family through the flood and then sent the rainbow as a sign of His covenant with us that He would never again flood the earth). Then we moved on to the covenant we make with God when we accept Christ into our hearts, and how the symbol of that covenant is The Lord's Supper. It really makes me think about all the times I haven't treated my relationship with God as a covenant, or binding agreement. I treat it so flippantly, as God has been sure to point out, but this study has encouraged me to live a life that reflects the covenant I made, knowing or unknowingly, with Him when I asked Jesus to come into my heart.
This past week the opening line of one of the lessons was: "Friend is a covenant word." Anyone who knows me (and Brooke, and Lori, and Maleah!) know that the word "friend" is not just a term used to describe each other, but often our names. It's not uncommon for one of us to yell "Hey Friend", and while no one else in the room has any idea what we are talking about, the friend knows. The best is when we are all together and someone says "Hey Friend" and we all know exactly which "friend" is being referred to, even though no names have been said. That's just how it is with us. I had always just thought of "friend" as a fun way of addressing people, and it was often turned into a joke when we would start counting how many times the word was used in a single setting. After this particular day's lesson, and then our group discussion on Tuesday, I look at this word in a new light. In all of Scripture, Abraham is the only person who is ever referred to as a "Friend of God". I think it was because Abraham was just that close with God. After all, he was seconds away from sacrificing the son that he had waited so long for God to bring into existence, when God told him to stop and said "Now I know that you fear me". They had quite the tight bond, Abraham & God.
It reminds me of a song we had at our wedding. It was sung by dear sweet Mel as our attendants entered the sanctuary. It's called "My Friend" by Crystal Lewis, and here is the chorus:
I love you, my friend
For giving to me
For being my confident
For letting me be me
For sharing your heart
For taking a stand
I want to be like you
I love you, my friend
When I think of all this, it brings me to this point: I NEVER want to take that word and defile it again. It has a sacred connotation that I never saw before. God has shown me through study of this word that these friends I mentioned earlier and I have a covenant with each other. While written or unwritten, it's still a covenant-a binding agreement-that holds us together. We help hold each other accountable, and we have the best time of just about anybody! These are people that I can truly call "friend". So, I challenge anyone who reads this to think...think about those in your life who you call "friend" (especially those of you who may address people with this word and you've never really thought about it, or don't even REALLY know what it means) and don't use it so haphazardly. Think of Abraham, the Friend of God...and if you can't say that you have that same kind of relationship that he had with God, then don't use it. It's a challenge I am willing to take. I hope that my friends will join me.