Friendship with God

What is God looking for? God wants an intimate relationship and He is looking for a friend. He wants to talk and to share the secrets of His heart with us (Psalm 25:14) like a friend. Unfortunately, we often look to Him as a means to an end – One who is able to “fix things” in our life. It’s not that the LORD is against “fixing things” because He actually enjoys blessing us and serving us (Luke 12:37). But God wants more than just to bless and serve us. He wants friendship with us.

Grave mistake

One of the mistakes of the Church is the way we preach the Gospel. Often we offer Jesus to people solely on the basis that a salesman offers a product to customers. Come to Jesus and He will solve all your problems – save you from hell, fix your marriage, heal your diseases, bless you with wealth and with a good career, make you powerful, etc. Yes, Jesus certainly saves us from hell, He desires to bless us and He wants to set us free from our problems.

It is not entirely wrong to come to Jesus initially for what He can do for us. However, many never progress beyond this phase of our faith. What if Jesus doesn’t fix our marriage? What if Jesus doesn’t heal us? What if He allows us to become bankrupt? What if He allows us to go through trial and suffering? If our primary motive in coming to Jesus revolves around what He can do for us, we will be offended with Him or even leave Him when He “fails” to meet all of our “perceived” needs.

Unfortunately, many in the Body of Christ fail to get past this phase of coming to Jesus for what He can do for us. We are so fixated on what He can do for us or how He can provide for us that we fail to see the loveliness of this Person simply for who He is. Song 5:10, 16 says,

My Beloved is dazzling and ruddy, chief among ten thousand… Yes, He is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend…” (NKJV)

Jesus is infinitely wonderful and He is infinitely lovely in Himself. He is worthy to be loved and adored even if He never does a single thing for us ever. It will be great injustice if we are to love Him any less and to offer Him any less than our all. For Jesus is simply worthy! (Rev. 5:12)

Real and true friendship

Real and true friendship can’t be forced. It must be chosen, pursued, cultivated and also purged of ulterior motives. Friends share secrets. As an understanding of each other grows, trust and appreciation of each other will also grow. When friendship deepens, we will love our friend for who they are and not for what they can do for you. In fact, real friends don’t need to do anything for each other because being with our friend is the highest joy. Yet the truth is that there is nothing we wouldn’t do for our friend and there is nothing our friend wouldn’t do for us!

Real and true friendship cannot be forced or manipulated but it has to be reciprocal. If it is being forced or manipulated, it will cease to be a friendship as the joy of friendship will eventually leave and become a burden.

Real friendship is love. And love must be given freely and it has to be reciprocal.

If we are primarily interested in a friendship for what we can get out of it or what a friend can do for us, we will never have a true and real friendship. Yes, a friendship can begin this way and then develop into true friendship but until all agendas and ulterior motives are removed, we will never have a real and true friendship. Yet it is our truest friends who will do anything and the most for us!

The paradox is that our friendship will never get to the stage of being real and true unless we are always free to reject one another. The moment we feel coerced into the relationship because of something that we need or something that our friend might do to us if we fail them, that will be the moment friendship will die.

It is the same in our friendship with God. We have to choose, pursue and cultivate our friendship with Him. It cannot be forced or manipulated but it has to be reciprocal.

Friend of God

Mary of Bethany gives us a powerful picture of the kind of friend that Jesus is looking for. Mary would rather sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him. She doesn’t want anything from Jesus other than being close to Him and knowing what is on His heart. Luke 10:39 says this,

And she has a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heart His word.” (NKJV)

Many want to hear the voice of God so as to be prosperous or be famous. Many want to hear His voice in order to be anointed and successful in our ministry. Then some have a much purer motive – they want to hear the heart of God so that they can know the will of God and do it.

But Mary was beyond these motivations and she had the purest of all motivations. She had become like the lover in the Song of Songs who called to her Beloved in Song 5:8,

If you find my Beloved, that you tell Him that I am lovesick!” (NKJV)

Mary wanted to hear the voice of Jesus simply because He was the One that she loved and Jesus was the joy of her heart. She wanted to see His face because it was the most lovely of all faces. She simply wanted Jesus and Jesus was enough for her, anything else was a “bonus”. Being with Him satisfied every one of her needs and desires. Simply put, she was His friend and He was her friend. Therefore, it was not difficult for Mary to waste it all on Jesus in Mark 13:3 – 9 because Jesus was the very one thing that she has chosen (Luke 10:42)!

John the Baptist shared the very same heartbeat as Mary. The ultimate desire of John was not being the voice of God but being the friend of Jesus. John defined himself as the friend of the Bridegroom and hearing the voice of Jesus was his greatest joy and his exceedingly great reward in life. For John said this in John 3:29,

He who has the bride is the Bridegroom; but the friend of the Bridegroom, who stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly because of the Bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.” (NKJV)

No wonder John was being described as great in the sight of the Lord in Luke 1:15 and Jesus called him as the greatest man ever born of women in Matthew 11:11!

Friendship with God

It is the desire of God to share the secret of His heart with His friends (Psalm 25:14; Amos 3:7). Abraham was God’s friend and he was the only man being mentioned as the friend of God three times in the Bible (2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23)! Therefore, the Lord delighted in sharing the secrets of His heart with Abraham. When God was about to destroy Sodom, He said this in Genesis 18:17,

Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” (NKJV)

What a profound statement! For God had to share with Abraham what He was about to do. God wasn’t asking Abraham for his permission but simply wanted to share His plan with him. Why? Because Abraham was His friend! It was the same with Moses in Exodus 33:11 because Moses was also God’s friend.

Jesus said this to His disciples in John 15:15,

No longer do I called servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (NKJV)

The reward of being a friend of Jesus is to know what is in the heart of the Father and in the heart of Jesus! It is the desire and delight of God to trust us with His secrets and plans. He is looking for a friend like Abraham and Moses who were more concerned about God than what they can get out of Him. To be a friend of God, He must not be a means to an end but God has to be the end of all things. For this is what hinders our friendship with God.

Again, Jesus said this in John 14:21,

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (NKJV)

What a promise to be His friend! For Jesus promises more than a truth or a revelation, He promises Himself and His nearness to us! Who wouldn’t want Jesus to be near to them?

The great mystery

There are times when God makes it easy for us to reject Him because He wants us to choose Him for Him alone. It is one of the greatest mysteries of the universe that God wants a friendship with us. He will not force Himself on us but we have to choose Him as our Friend. We are also to pursue Him all the days of our lives if we want that friendship to grow. Proverbs 25:2 says this,

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings to search out a matter.” (NKJV)

The Lord has not hidden the mysteries of God (i.e. the secrets of His heart) FROM us but He has intentionally hidden the mysteries of God FOR us! The desire and delight of God is for us to search it out like a friend. What are You thinking, O Lord and what are You feeling? Would You allow me to know?

May we be like Apostle John (the best friend of Jesus), who leaned on the bosom of Jesus to hear His heart (John 21:20).

May we make Jeremiah 9:23 – 24 the pursuit and prayer of our life.

Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me…” (NIV)

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