Friendship with God
Good friends are hard to come by. When I was in middle school, Bobby was my best friend. We shared everything. What was mine was his, even my video games… which he was stealing! Okay, not the best friend. Alternatively, friendship with God will never let you down.
Jesus said in John 15:12-13 (NASB), “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
For everyone who doesn’t know the climax of the gospels (spoiler alert), Jesus does lay down His life for His friends. When you combine that with 1 John 2:2, you’ll find Jesus considered everyone in the world to be a friend who He would die for. He is amazing, isn’t He?
Despite my joke above, there are good friends in life, but we’ll never top friendship with God.
Servant of God
Jesus goes on to give us a glimpse of what it looks like to be His friend.
“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you 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.”
– John 15:14-15 (NKJV)
Does this sound a bit contradictory to anyone else? Jesus says, “you’re my friends, not servants, but you’ll do what I command you.” At this point, I’d like to ask everyone reading if you are my friends. If so, give me all your money, I command you. Obviously, I’m kidding.
But, do you do what God commands you as a servant, or as a friend? Jesus reveals the difference at the end of the verses. He makes known to us everything He’s heard from His Father. In other words, He isn’t holding out on us and telling us to do things for His own purposes. Instead, He invites us into His circle as co-heirs—and friends.
Friendship with God
Occasionally, I hear disillusioned Christians mumble, “I can’t understand why God’s doing this to me.” As if Jesus is keeping them in the dark out of spite, or as a sort of cruel trick. The Holy Spirit doesn’t tell us everything, but we can know His direction comes from friendship. God the Father didn’t tell Jesus everything either (Matt. 24:36). And, God didn’t tell Abraham where He was sending him in Genesis 12:1, yet Abraham was His friend.
“And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God.”
– James 2:23 (NLT)
Abraham obeyed God, and God went with him on the journey. Abraham could have stayed in comfort, but he chose the unknown because he believed. His reward was a genuine relationship with God. That is what our life should look like. Obedience is not easy, but the blessing—friendship with God—far outweighs the trials.
God doesn’t want us to be His mere servant and for Him to be our master. He wants us to walk with Him as friends. He blesses our obedience and tells us what we need to know along the way. When God gives you commands, go on the adventure with Him, and see how your friendship deepens.
I’d love to read in the comments section about a time you obeyed God even though it didn’t make sense.