The junior high years are full of challenges, but making friends has to be among the toughest. Students’ identities seem to be based on their friends. I learned quickly the philosophy “who you are friends with determines your worth.” The only ticket to “cool town” was to become friends with one of the cool kids.
When I was in junior high, one of my favorite movies featured a high school homecoming queen befriending a social outcast. This pairing astounded me. How could one so cool befriend one so not?
Our God befriended us in this same way (John 15:15). The Creator of the universe befriended us when we were lowly, unlovable sinners (Romans 5:8). This is an amazing feat. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
In an ironic way, my junior high philosophy “who you are friends with determines your worth” rings true in our relationship with the Coolest One Ever. Jesus sees us, desires to hang out with us and calls us His friend. Our identity and self-worth rest confidently within this relationship. His love for us is our identity.
We don’t have to worry about what other friends or family think of us. Our friend Jesus thinks we are pretty great. In fact, He is overjoyed by us exactly the way we are — awkward quirks and all. Praise God our hope and worth are found in Jesus.
Jillian Willis of Newberg, Oregon, is a worship arts pastor, the author of “Sing Over Me: A Women’s Devotional through the Psalms” (fmchr.ch/jwillis) and a blogger at standingonpeace.com.
DISCUSSION: How does your friendship with God affirm and comfort you?  How do you choose your earthly friendships?  What kind of a friend are you to others? 0