Friend of God?
Someone asked me, “Can we ALL be called a ‘friend’ of God?” I am going to take it a bit further, and add ‘what’ it may look like, and what it may NOT.
First, I want to say, my whole outlook has changed since I studied this afresh this week. My gut feeling and somewhat quick answer, has always been: The phrase ‘friend of God’ was JUST directed towards Abe, due to his obedient and trusting lifestyle. James 2:23 “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” and he was called a friend of God”.
Yet, we sing it in church, we state it to others. We seek it for our own lives. To be a friend of God is taken (in my opinion) too lightly these day. To the extent that, some folks think and feel, that just because they are Christians that automatically makes them a friend of God. No. Ps. 25:14 says ‘friendship with the LORD is reserved for them who fear the LORD.’ We can be a Christian without reverence for God and His ways.
John 15:14 ‘you are my friends if…‘ Jesus says, ‘you do what I command’. The whole chapter (John 15) is full of ‘if’ or ‘unless’. Merely to be a Christian is not a ‘given’ in respect to the privileges and ‘perks’ of friendship, and PALEESE, may we be so very careful to state also the RESPONSIBILITY of friendship. It is how we respond to Jesus, (and others) His love, His laws, our responsibility to apply Him to life. As the saying goes, “love God on Sunday, but live like hell on Monday.” Is this a friend? James 4:4 “. .. therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
To be a friend of God, is to love Him, and His, (His people) This I believe is summed up in what Jesus states as the greatest commandment, (Mark 12:30,31) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Intimacy is the difference between an acquaintance and a friend. An acquaintance, doesn’t seek to spend time with me, an acquaintance doesn’t necessarily desire my best. A FRIEND seeks me and my best. May I risk by saying, “want a friend, BE a friend.” Hm … I love what is said of Moses, “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” (Ex. 33:11). One on one time. Yes, a friend of God.
Sometimes to understand the ‘positive’ view of something, we need to look at the negative. THIS is what I found . THIS is GOOD. All this time I took the phrase Jesus said to Judas in garden as a kind, redemptive statement (also heard it from the pulpit many times over the years) Jesus says, ‘friend do what you came for’ as Judas kisses Him, betraying Him. (Matt. 26:50)
HOWEVER, what Jesus said, got lost in the English translation, the imagery of the word. This is NOT ‘philos’ a friend who seeks our best, loved one, dear. He uses ‘heterois’, a friend for selfish reasons, also translated as ‘selfish comrade’. The word picture is that of a companion who seeks their own benefit, not carrying whether others rejoice or are in sorrow. Judas was friends with Jesus for WHAT he could get … not WHO he was getting. Did Jesus know this? YES.
Even in Judah’s poor representation of what it is to be a friend of Jesus, the END of his life shows a great example. It shows the true result of such a relationship… humiliation, sorrow in the deepest sense … death, (Matt. 27:1-10) Yet when Judas got what he wanted, it didn’t compare to the relationship he could have had with his God.
Head hung, shoulders slumped. How many times have I too, buddied up with Jesus … to GET. How many times, have I consciously (or even un-consciously) wanted His presence for … selfish gain. Is my relationship, my friendship with God for ‘WHAT’ or ‘WHO’? May we all pause here, and contemplate our relationship/friendship with Jesus. (ok, get up off the floor …) I sense God say to us. YES, He knows. He knows when we come to Him for the ‘what’. I also sense He would say to us, HE is GLAD we are there. His love for us is so great. Yes, He would desire our motive pure, once we are there in His presence He can begin to clean us up, wipe away the selfishness, and enjoy the WHO! COME.
Yes, a friend of God. Reverence. Loving Him, and His, obeying Him. Seeking Him, spending time with HIM. Want HIM, not the WHAT.
May I be HIS friend, In Him, DeDe
Please visit my new website, ‘Inspired Fountain’ http://inspiredfountain.wordpress.com/ addressing questions, with a look at His word for answers.