Ah hey there dear friends! – I sincerely pray you are all doing really well!  If you reside in the U.S. – Happy autumn season to you as we all welcome much cooler temperatures.  Yes goodbye to those super-hot summer days.  Ah today’s message has been on my mind for a little while now.  Perhaps you have teenagers or in my case a pre-teen middle schooler who has spoken of the “Kiki – Are You Riding?” challenge which stems from lyrics to a song by a very well-known rapper known as Drake.  My daughter happens to know this song quite well and even has the dance moves to go right along with it too.  The song has a catchy chorus with lines such as “Kiki, do you love me?  Are You Riding?”  When I had a conversation with her about it, I recall telling her the title of the message on my heart will be “Kiki, Keisha, Kevin and Kenard, Do you love me?  Yes of course I do – signed GOD!”  Why the title, well simply because we are currently living in times where most people especially pre-teens and teenagers alike want to know if your loyalty extends beyond the words you speak.  Oh yes, Loyalty has become a very big deal to a lot of people.  I purposely used the discussion with my daughter to emphasize the fact that our heavenly father is the expert author and finisher of the meaning of love and loyalty.  There will never be any comparison of love/loyalty equal to the love God has for us.  Let us consider, we serve a God who willingly sacrificed his one and only son for the redemption of the lost – you and me.  I do not know of any human father or mother who would willingly offer up their child in death for the sake of others.  Not only does our God ride with us – he is the vehicle by which anything we do and accomplish is even remotely possible.  In my humble opinion, without God, life itself fails to carry significant meaning.  God is intimately concerned about every heart concern we have and even those heart concerns which are yet to arise, our Father already knows exactly what they are and how they will affect us both short term and long term.

While the primary focus for just about every preteen and middle schooler is obtaining an affirmative “Yes” to the questions “Do You Love Me?, Are you Riding? Do You Like Me?  As I mentioned to my darling daughter – the best guaranteed “Yes” you will ever get to any of these questions can only come from God!  People may change their responses to you depending upon the trials that are likely to occur over the course of your friendships but God never will.  The friendships you have with your classmates may change over the course of time but there is one constant friendship that remains the same which is the relationship you have with our Heavenly Father.  So when my sweet girl comes along to share her heart concerning which of her middle school classmates are “going together” or “dating” as she calls it.  I simply reassure her the best relationship she can focus on is the one she has with Jesus and her family who will always love and support her.  You see Love has become an acronym “Lean On Virtuous Examples” whereby the bar of evaluation as it relates to friendships is based upon the real evidence of agape love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  These are all fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22 NLT) and if people are walking around and not exhibiting these qualities or at least striving to show them on a consistent basis but in turn asking “Do you love me? or Do You Like Me?” the answer should really be Errrrr let’s pump the brakes very quickly here and share a conversation on what some fruits of the Spirit are.

The act of “Love” implies it is an intentional action word that is not just about being cool or having the most friends in school.  Oh my I remember back when I was in middle and high school, some of my classmates who had a really large number of friends and were placed in the popular category were some of the most miserable people.  You see many of them equated love with the quantity of friends they had or being popular over essential human qualities which sadly left them in tears on many occasions.  The same is true today, as my daughter says she too has observed this among some of her classmates.  As I have said to her several times – Jesus is not concerned over how many friends you have and while having many friends may get you a popular vote in school or street creds – it will never result in agape love.  So whether the person is Kiki, Kiesha, Kevin, or Kenard asking “If You Love Me?”  or “DoYou Like Me?” – the answer will always be a resounding “Yes” from God!  In 1 Kings 8:22, Solomon offers the following prayer before the Israelites “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on the earth below.  You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion.  You have kept your promise to your servant David, my father.  You made that promise with your mouth, and with your own hands you have fulfilled it today.”  If you are a parent of a pre-teen or teenager who is struggling with whether he or she has a fan base or friends who like or love them, you can assure them wholeheartedly that God has unfailing love for them at all times, no matter what they have done or have not done.  Do not forget to remind them daily - they are fearfully and wonderfully made for such a time as this!



Amadi Leakslove, friendship, friends