Being A Friend of God
“I am a friend of God, I am a friend of God, I am a friend of God, He calls me friend.”
This is the first phrase of the chorus of the Philips, Craig and Dean Song, Friend of God. I love this song because its truth is so profound and dear to my heart. The notion that I, as a follower of Christ would be called a friend by my Lord Jesus, the King of the universe is very moving. I mean who wouldn’t want to be called God’s friend by God? The problem is, when many of us think of friendship with Jesus, we picture hanging out with Him like we would with one of our buddies. We want to make Jesus our peer when He is, indeed, our Lord and King.
So what does it mean to be a friend of God? Jesus makes reference to His followers being His friends three times as He walks with them to the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He is crucified. Jesus is talking with them about abiding in Him and His love. Within each statement, light is shed upon the believer’s friendship with Jesus, God the Son:
• Jesus paid the ultimate price in expressing His love to His followers as He laid down His life for them on the cross. Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Jesus took the initiative to love us, His friends. It is Jesus who is the author of this friendship.
• Jesus identifies His friends as those who keep His commands. Jesus said, "You are My friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15:14) As Jesus describes the nature of His future relationship with His followers throughout His last night with them; He repeatedly says it will be characterized by obedience. Three times during the Passover meal Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep my commands.” (John 14: 15, 21, 23) Then within the context of this immediate conversation about abiding in His love, Jesus says, “If you keep My commands you will abide in My love.” (John 15:9) We obey Jesus because we are bondservants to our Lord and King, Jesus. It is because of this obedience that Jesus calls us His friends.
• Jesus discloses Himself to His friends and makes known to them what His Father is doing. Jesus said, "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15) Jesus makes a distinction between bondservants and friends. Bondservants don’t know what their master is doing. A friend, however, does know what his Master, the King, is doing. In this third instance, Jesus compares His friends with slaves. Hours earlier that evening Jesus said, "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am… "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him." (John 13:13,16) The picture here is one of a master and slaves. The fact is, every follower of Christ is a bondservant of Jesus, the Master. Sometimes we forget that Jesus is the Lord and we are His bondservants. We want to make Him our bud. We have lost sight that Jesus is not our peer. That’s why He calls us to obey Him. As the King, Jesus sees our loyalty expressed by our obedience to His commands as bondservants and He calls us friends.
Being a friend of Jesus, the Teacher and Lord, means:
• We are recipients of His love,
• We obey His commands, and
• We know what Jesus is doing.
Jesus continues His discussion of what it means to be His friends, He said, "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you." (John 15:16) We did not choose Him, but Jesus, the King, chooses us and appoints us to bear fruit for His kingdom. As those who are chosen and appointed, Jesus has also given authority to ask the Father, in His name, for the resources we need to bear fruit for His kingdom that will last.
To be called the friends of the King of Kings is a great honor. It means that He has found us to be faithful obedient bondservants. As friends of the Lord of Lords, He makes known to us what He is doing in our lives and the lives of those around us so we can obey His direction to love them and bear fruit that will last in His kingdom. (back to 'Weekly Blog' page)