Links Daily Devotional

Friends

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13, NLT)

This year’s edition of the Links Players Magazine includes an article encouraging buddy trips. It’s one thing when you read about such good times, but when you actually experience an outing like this, it can be life-changing.

I recently joined a buddy trip with several friends, and what a great time of fellowship and golf we shared! I had known a few of these guys over the past three years; they were faithfully attending a Links Fellowship in the Southern California region. But to say that I knew them seems so far from how I know them now. Since our trip, we have been meeting more frequently and now I can truly say I know them and they know me.

By the time we’ve read into the fifteenth chapter of John’s gospel, he is writing about Jesus’ last days here on earth. Now that Jesus was about to leave the disciples, he knew they would be tempted to go their own ways, to become like strangers. Therefore, he pressed upon them to love one another, not to shrink from their relationships when they met with hardships.

When you face challenges and hardships in your life, whom do you call? Whom do you go to, asking for prayer and wisdom? Just like Jesus encouraged the disciples to stand by each other in the roughest times, he would encourage us to do the same. After all, we are the disciples of the disciples of the disciples…

One of our Links Players led a study about the F-1, F-2, and F-3 relationships. The F-1 relationship is very close (like with your spouse), where everything is disclosed and the friends know everything about each other and there is a trust of one another. My friend said you can’t make these relationships happen—they result because of a connection. F-2 relationships are what we are seeing happen in our Links Fellowships. The brothers and sisters in these fellowships are sharing and learning more about each other every time they meet. F-2 relationships can grow into F-1 relationships. Finally, F-3 relationships are typically people we play golf with at the club or friends in our neighborhood.

Jesus wants us to have an F-1 relationship with him, of course. He wants us to be open and giving, loving him as he loved us. We grow into this kind of deep friendship with Jesus through prayer, reading his Word, serving in his name, and trusting him in all matters.

Beyond our relationship with Jesus, though, God has placed us into fellowship with other followers of Christ. With these people, too, we should be working toward a meaningful friendship where we encourage, challenge, and serve one another. This means sacrifice, the “laying down of your life.” There’s no promise of it being easy, though we can certainly count on it being good (Romans 8:28)!

Each time I go to a Links Fellowship where we talk openly with one another, or every chance I have to travel with others in purposeful retreat or mission, I find I come away with friendships that are moving up the ladder from F3 to F1. It’s a long, steady process, but it really gets accelerated when we set up hours and days together and spend them seeking the Lord in true fellowship.

Dereck Wong
October 7, 2015
Copyright 2015 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.