Summary: You are not primarily a servant of God. You are God’s friend!
Is God Your Friend?
Purpose Driven Life #11
October 25, 2003
You are not, primarily, a servant of God. But you are, primarily, a child of the living God and, as a child of God’s family, you have available to you the closest friendship relationship possible. You are designed to be God’s friend. We have difficulty with this idea, though, because God is all that He is and we are who we are and we find it difficult to reconcile the two. We find it difficult to imagine being a friend of the one who created the vast universe. This simply seems too great to imagine.
Romans 5.10, however, tells us that we have been brought to friendship by the deliverance we received.
Think about what life was like in Eden. Do you see anything but harmony? Until sin entered, there is a picture of peace and harmony. This is evident in a contrast that is given- Gen.3.7, 8. Something was radically different now. But this tells us that they had spent time with God in conversation and friendship. There had been harmony. Now, something was different, but before, it had been more wonderful. God walked in the garden and they talked together. There were no rituals or ceremonies or religion. There was just a relationship of love between God and the people he created. There was no guilt or fear- that came when sin entered. Adam and Eve enjoyed friendship with God and He with them. This tells us what was intended. To live continually in God’s presence is what we were made for, but this was lost after sin entered in the garden.
How do we regain this? Is it possible? We were made for it and we have been restored, through Jesus’ death, which indicates that we can make the way back to what was supposed to be. But how do we do this?
We don’t see a lot of this through the majority of the Bible. The Bible is a big book, and there’s not a lot of friendship with God in it. Only a few were called God’s friend- people like Moses and Abraham. David, Job, Enoch, and Noah, also, entered that distinguished group. But there is more fear than friendship in the OT. Think about all that was necessary for priest and people to even come into the presence of God- that doesn’t engender feelings and experiences of close friendship. Think of how close you wouldn’t feel to someone if you had to prepare special meals, wait for special times, burn special candles, wear special clothes, and take special baths before you could even come to where that person was. That would not encourage close friendship, would it? This is the way it was through most of the history of the Bible. For even the priests to come before God required all this, and the people were kept even a little farther away.
However, Romans 5.11 tells us that this has changed, and we are thankful for this change.
2 Cor.5.18a tells us that we are friends and this is because of what Jesus did! He’s the key in everything, isn’t He? We know that Jesus is a friend- so is our Father and so is the Holy Spirit helper and comforter. Jesus called his disciples- and us- friends- John 15.15. This wasn’t the typical relationship of those who followed a rabbi or teacher in those days. They were learners, disciples, students- but not friends. Jesus set a different standard and way and this continues to today and us. When Jesus called them his ‘friends’ he used a word that speaks of closeness and trust in a relationship. This is the same word used of the best man at a wedding or of those of an inner circle of friends around a leader (king, Prime Minister). People like to boast about lots of different things. People boast about income, homes, health, vehicles, and many other things. However, God tells us what we are to really boast about:
Jer.9.24- this is what really matters. This is what you and I have been created for. This is what we are to seek. To be God’s friend is the greatest honour and the highest calling we have. God wants you as his friend. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. How do you go about being a closer friend of God? Remember that you are already a friend because you’ve accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for you. But what do you need to do to cement and build that friendship now?
1. Converse with God. There’s no way to be close to God by simply attending church each week or even by just having a time ‘for God’ each day. As with any friendship, sharing of life together is necessary. We all know the need to have some time in each day for God, and that’s a discipline necessary for each of us. But, beyond that, bring God with you to each activity of each day. We tend to think in boxes and some writings of Christians who have sought to have God with them always can be helpful for us. There is a process that is quite foreign to much of our thinking, yet which can become a source of incredible strength and joy to us.