Summary: Based on Chapter 12 of "A Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren, Part 2 of a 2-part study of how we can become intimate friends with God.
My Best Friend—Part 2
Scripture Ref: Exodus 33:1-17
Additional References: The Bible Knowledge Commentary
The Purpose Driven Life, Chapt. 12, Rick Warren
a. Two weeks ago we began a study of friendship with God. Specifically, we started looking at how we can become best friends with God.
b. We started learning six skills or practices people from the Old Testament whom God called his friend used on a routine basis.
c. In review:
(1) The first skill we must master is continually talking with God. We should not aspire to lengthy, theological discourses where God is not allowed to get a word in edgewise; or where we are unable to keep our focus so we keep drifting off the subject of our conversation. Rather we should use breath prayers and talk with God just as we talk with one another.
(2) The second skill we must master is continually meditating on God. We have worrying down pat. If we take that same principle, substitute God for the problem, and practice as frequently as we worry about our problems, we have meditation down pat.
d. Today we review the four remaining skills, traits, or practices, whatever you wish to call them that we can learn from God’s friends in the Old Testament.
2. A Daily Dose of Reality
a. Hold on to the pew in front of you and take a deep breath. Profound wisdom follows.
b. You are as close to God as you choose to be!
(1) Just as our best friend did not get that way overnight, neither will our relationship with God.
(2) We must open up to Him, learn to tell him everything, be willing to do what He asks, be concerned about the things He is concerned about, and make friendship with Him our top priority.
3. Choose to be honest with God.
a. Honesty is not the best policy, it’s the only policy
(1) Our faults and our feelings.
(2) Perfection is neither expected nor anticipated. Honesty, on the other hand, is.
b. None of God’s friends in the Bible were perfect. If that were a requirement we would be fighting a losing battle.
c. Traits of God’s friends
(1) Honest about their feelings.
(a) Questioned and challenged Him over the destruction of Sodom.
(b) Pestered Him about what it would take to save the city.
(c) Negotiated with Him from 50 down to 10 righteous people.
(a) Accused God of unfairness, betrayal, and abandonment.
(b) God loved David for loving Him enough he could show his true emotions.
(a) Jeremiah accused God of tricking him.
(b) Job vented bitterness and in the end God defended him for being honest and scolded Job’s friends for being fake.
(4) Moses is probably the best example.
(a) Read Exodus 33:1-17
(b) In prior verses, God very strongly tells Moses how angry He is with the Israelites for making the golden calf. Rather than Him leading the Israelites, He is going to send His angel in His place.
(c) Moses, speaking as a friend, pushes back, and responds as bluntly as God did.
e. True friendship relies on honesty and candor.
(1) God desires passionate truth.
(2) He does not want predictable, self-righteous cliché’s.
(3) Lesson: Say what you think and feel, not what you think God wants to hear you say. Example: NRO inspector finding procedural violations during monitor watch and confrontation with CO afterwards.
f. Why should I tell God what bothers me?
(1) Until we grow in our relationship with Him, we remain resentful over trivial things such as our appearance, our background, our past hurts, and prayers He has not answered.
(2) If I were God, things would be a lot different around here.
(3) Bitterness keeps us from getting closer to Him.
(4) Why would I want to be God’s friend if He lets all these things happen?
g. Expressing doubt and anger can be the first step towards a more intimate relationship with God.
4. Choose to obey God in faith.
a. Taking those leaps of faith strengthens our friendship with God.
b. Obedience is not normally equated with friendship, but with God it is a requirement.
c. Jesus made it clear that obedience is a condition of intimacy.
Read John 15:14—You are my friends if you do what I command.
d. We obey God not because we are duty bound or afraid, nor because we are obligated. We obey because we love Him and know He has our best interests at heart.
e. The closer we follow Him the stronger our friendship becomes.
f. Non-Christians think we obey because we have to, or because we are overcome with guilt if we don’t, or because we are afraid of some celestial punishment. We know, however, we obey because of love—we have been forgiven and set free.