Summary: God wants you as a friend.
Developing Your Friendship with God
Purpose Driven Life #12
November 2, 2003
God is to be your closest friend. Last week, we looked at this and how, through prayer and meditation, you can be closer to Him than you are now. You, frankly, can be as close to God as you want to be and it depends on you. If you don’t feel close to God, you have to ask, “Who moved?” knowing that it wasn’t Him. As you and I learn to be God’s friend a spin-off benefit will be improved friendships with those who are your human friends? If we learn how to be ‘tight’ with God, we can take the same principles and be closer with our friends.
By now, you may have realized that we’re in a long series of messages focusing on the purposes of the church and of our lives. We are focusing, now, on the subject of worship and how to worship God. We are taking several weeks to focus on our biblical purpose of being worshippers. These messages are not meant to be simply informative or informational. You don’t want that. You don’t come to church for information. You come here to meet God. My goal is that these messages be transformational and that they lead you to analyze your life and live differently. Christ in you transforms you and changes you. This is what the Christian life is all about- transformation. Christian life is all about becoming constantly different- it’s about constant change, but the change is not to be just in external matters, but on deep matters of the heart, which becomes evident through outside matters of action.
Rom.12.1, 2- tells us to be transformed. This is a key passage with regard to the subject of worship. This means that we are to be seriously changed, from the inside out. So, please, don’t come here for information. We come here to worship God, and we live to worship God. We used to come to Church ‘to be taught’ primarily. We don’t, anymore. That idea, alone, is a revolutionary and transformational idea.
Our first purpose in life is to give pleasure to God and we do that through living a fully God-centred life. As we live this way, we constantly are in worship toward God. You begin that in friendship with God, so I’m urging you to work at this friendship. Don’t accept anything less than close friendship. Don’t believe that it doesn’t matter- it does matter, very much!
How can you deepen your friendship with God, each day?
One very important key, and I will take today’s entire message to consider this, is, “You need to choose to be honest with God.” A lot of us are scared to be honest with God. Many of us may never have been honest with God, ever. You need to be honest with God. Friendship is built on honesty.
A lot of times, you might be ‘mad’ at God but you feel like you can never say that because he might zap you with lightning. Don’t you think he knows your feelings? Of course, he does. (Psa.139.23- God knows your thoughts- indicates, by-the-way, that Satan does not.) God doesn’t want some sort of superficial relationship. He wants you and me to wrestle with him and to be brutally honest with him. From such honesty comes growth. I know that we fear this because in the human realm when we’re honest with people, they sometimes turn away and show that they weren’t friends with us, and we hurt because of that. However, God is bigger than that and won’t turn away. God knows you have feelings and that those feelings aren’t always ‘holy, righteous, spiritual’ feelings. He wants to help you through those. He wants to work with you on those feelings. His whole goal is to lead you to the good places.
Psa.23- notice his desire to lead you to the still waters and the green pastures. This isn’t what’s always before us, though, is it? Sometimes, we’re incredibly conflicted. Maybe a relationship ended and you’re upset at God because of that. Maybe you lost a job and you’re upset at God about that. Maybe you are ill and you’re upset at God about that. He can handle that. Tell him how you feel. Cry before him. Even be angry at him- he can handle that.
See some times when friends were honest with God and he patiently worked with them.
Exod.33.12-17- notice the honesty between Moses and God. You are to have this same honesty with God.
See what happened when Moses was being commissioned- Exod.4.1-16- God was honest in his emotions toward Moses, too.
On another occasion, we see Jeremiah- Jer.1.4-10. God can handle this.
An author named Elizabeth Kubler-Ross has written, in “On Death and Dying”, about the process of grieving. She identified 5 stages we all pass through in all times of grief. These hold true whether you’re grieving a spouse’s death, grieving the loss of a job, grieving the moving of long-time friends to another place, grieving changes in your church’s doctrinal and belief structure, or grieving the loss of health. We don’t go through these in a straight line, necessarily- we sometimes go back and forth, but we need to understand these so we can help others and ourselves. These stages are: