As my children and I were cycling through fun renditions of classic Disney songs a jazzy version of Genie's You ain't never had a friend like me from the movie Aladdin began playing. It's a catchy tune. To paraphrase: The Genie is elaborating about all the things he can do for Aladdin. Anything Aladdin could ever want would be available to him because he found and rubbed the Lamp and released the Genie.
The thought came to me "I ain't never had a friend like Jesus!" How many of us actually consider Jesus a friend? What does a friendship with Him look like? Do we devote as much attention to developing our friendship with Jesus as we do with our Earthly relationships?
I have a fantastic network of friends the Lord has given me. Women I can call, talk with, lean on and learn from. If it were added up, I likely spend spend hours a day sending messages, making calls, and emailing to nurture these relationships. Do I spend the same amount of time nurturing my relationship with the Lord?
Consider Revelation 3:15 and 16:
"15. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth."
Our relationship with God isn't a casual thing. Just as our relationships with our friends and families improve and progress with attention to detail, so does our relationship with the Lord. This is so important that He would rather us not attend to it all then to do so half-heartedly. We do so by praying when we are obligated to do so. (ie. Morning and night because it's the right thing to do or because we have been taught that's when we should pray.) We do this when we approach scripture study as a check off of our daily task list. We do it when we see our sins or weaknesses and fail to progress in overcoming them. We do this when we believe we have no sin or weakness, or expect that Christ doesn't care for us to overcome them and just live with it. We do it when we fail to acknowledge the mercy and grace we are given daily as we go about our work. It's such a disheartening thing for Christ that He would rather we didn't attempt at all!
3 Nephi 27:29 "Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened."
Why does this bother Christ so? Because He is waiting for us! He doesn't just show up every morning at 7:45am because that's the time we set aside to pray. He waits for us to approach Him. He is ready to help to overcome our frustrations and anger. He wants us to learn to be the mothers, wives and women we were designed to be. There isn't a perfect instruction manual because Christ wants to teach us directly.
This process begins by humbling ourselves and repenting. We must be willing to do the work required to gain greater access to Christ. This is a painful process, but the most rewarding one. We must turn to Him first before we seek the advice of our friends, or the comfort of a loved one. Jesus needs to be the first person we go to.
Once we turn to Christ, we must be willing to do whatever He asks of us. Unlike the genie in Aladdin, there isn't a magic poof and our problems disappear. The trials we face were expertly curated to provide the perfect conditions to reveal our weakness. Those same trials provide the perfect oppositions needed to conquer our sins.
Increasing our intimacy with Christ will actually produce real and undeniable results. He will give us light and truth to teach us how to be better parents. He will help us bare the burden of our work so we can experience joy and see the beauty in the hardest of work. We can get to a point where we aren't enticed to anger ever again. We can learn to love even the meanest of people. We can overcome sin!
You ain't never had a friend like Jesus. Make Him your first phone call, text or conversation. The Lord will always answer, and provide the instruction we need to face our challenges. He, the true giver of peace, will be able to comfort our aching hearts and sooth our souls. The gifts He gives us as we approach Him, repent, and obey will enrich our lives in ways we can't even comprehend.
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