Friendship from God – Part 1

Most of us desire quality, pleasurable friendships. Whether with just one person, or with a group, friendship is integral to being created in the image of God. As we all know, there are different qualities of friendship, ranging from damaging to enriching. However, there is one friendship that ranks above all others, and that is friendship with God Almighty. I’m not referring to knowing about God, and I’m not referring to experiencing some sense of closeness with Him when praying or singing. No, I speak of a genuine, life-long intimacy that happily yields our will to His sovereign will. Friendship that seeks after Him first, for His glory and His pleasure, which in turn gives us pleasure (Psa 1:1-2; 112:1; 1Pe 1:2). As Christians, our human friendships are influenced by the quality of our friendship with Jesus Christ. Does our character reflect Christ’s character to a degree that enables others to experience Christ?

Often, our desire in earthly friendships is to get what we want, in some way or another. We may be more interested in how the other person makes us feel and not in the actual person themselves. For the Christian, this grows out of having the same wrong expectation of our friendship with God. Often our attitudes, our prayers, and our activities, show that we judge God’s friendship by the extent to which He fulfils our expectations. Therefore, we may make life-changing decisions with ourselves at the centre of our reasoning instead of God.

Oswald Chambers asked, think of the last thing you prayed about – were you devoted to your desire or to God? Was your determination to get some gift of the Spirit for yourself or to get to God? 

King David rightly tells us of the priority of friendship with God. The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. My eyes are ever toward the LORD… (Psalm 25:14-15). Yahweh is the initiator, reaching out to us, offering friendship through His son Jesus Christ (Heb 1:2). We then respond with repentant fear of the Lord. As our relationship grows, Yahweh increasingly makes known to us the nature of his covenant on which our relationship stands. The non-negotiable truths and promises of the covenant Christ instigated through the cross of Calvary is the foundation of our intimate friendship with God.

Communion reminds us of the cost and the certainty of friendship with God through Christ. The cup is the new covenant in my blood Jesus said. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me (1 Corinthians 11:25). The friendship which God gifted us came at the cost of Jesus’ life on the cross. There, God exchanged our sin for Christ’s righteousness, making the closest association with God possible (Rom 3:22-25). Christ made intimate friendship with Yahweh accessible by faith, and our faith is expressed through righteous fear of Yahweh. A fear that not only shudders at His coming judgement of sin, but a fear that also breaths the highest respect we are capable of. It’s no wonder David said, my eyes are ever toward the LORD.

Friendship from God is expensive because Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:2). As we grow in our understanding of God’s mercy in friendship, we should equally grow in our worship. Because of His great mercy, Paul instructs us to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).

To be continued…

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