When a Friendship With God Becomes Natural

It's not natural to know God as your friend. It just isn't. That is, until you enter a supernatural relationship with your Creator. Only then does it feel "natural" to talk to God as a friend.

"Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God's friend." (James 2:23) Imagine that. Having a friendship with God. And yet, it can only develop after a person does what Abraham did. You first believe God, and then the friendship thing kicks into gear.

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Jesus told His disciples, "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." (John 15:15)

In order to become a disciple of the Messiah, one first must place faith in Christ. You receive Him as your Savior, and the Lord of your life. This is how the relationship begins. In fact, it is the only way to enter a relationship with God. Every other approach is doomed to fail because it is not centered around the Person of Jesus Christ. Without the Son, there is no relationship or friendship with the Father.

God wants a relationship with you so much that He sent His only Son to earth to be sacrificed on the cross for your sins. You see, God cannot just welcome you into His family based on your sincerity or your efforts. Your sins are too great, as are mine. We need the Redeemer of mankind to wash our sins away with the blood which He shed for us. Only then can a friendship with God get under way.

"Wait a minute Dan. You said Abraham was God's friend. But that was long before Jesus came to earth." True. But it still only came about through faith. Abraham trusted God, and "it was credited to him as righteousness." In other words, God accepted Abraham because of the sacrifice Jesus would make many years later. Everything comes back to Jesus. His death opened the way for people to enter into a friendship with God even before He died for our sins. The Father was looking ahead and already forming a family, but it was always on account of what the promised Messiah would do on the cross. (see Isaiah 53)

And today, a friendship with God is based on what Jesus did 2000 years ago. So whether the event of Christ's crucifixion was coming "in the future," or happened "in the past," people in every generation have been able to approach God, love Him, serve Him, and develop a friendship with Him. But only because of the mercy of God and the death of Christ.

"A friend loves at all times." (Proverbs 17:17) And that certainly describes how God treats those in His family. The love of God is constant. But in order to benefit from it, you will need to reach out and touch the hand of the Master. That is, reach out in faith and receive Christ as your Lord and Savior. (see John 1:12) Trust Jesus. Know that He loves you. And then begin to bask in that love. You will never be the same after entering this eternal friendship with your Savior.

Is there something today which is preventing you from accepting the love of God? Perhaps a bad religious experience, or maybe some misperceptions about God and His plan for you. The Lord is able to clear those things up in your mind once you meet Him and begin to interact with Him. You will speak to Him in prayer, and He will speak to you through His Word. It won't be an audible voice, and yet, you will come to know His presence and His leading. That's what happens for those who enter God's family. Without a relationship through faith in Christ however, the Bible feels like a "closed" book. It doesn't make sense. Not until you meet Jesus, your friend and Redeemer.

So what qualities do you look for in a friend? I suspect those qualities are similar to what a believer receives in a friendship with God. Once you trust Him, the Lord has your back. You can count on it. After all, Jesus gave up his back for you when he was scourged, and He gave up His body for you on the cross. What more could He have given to show you how much He loves you? And without Christ's sacrifice on the cross, you and I would have no access to the Father. But through Christ, we have an open door and an open heart from our loving God.

Have you met the Redeemer? If not, it is impossible for you to completely understand this friendship which believers enjoy with their Lord. Once you meet Him, it will all start to come into focus. But that will require you to repent of your sin. Turn away from it and humble yourself before the Lord. Ask Him to forgive you. Believe that He died for your sins. And receive Him as your Savior through faith. Then begin to live everyday for your best friend, Jesus.

The supernatural becomes natural for the believer. But to those who persist in unbelief, the love of God remains a mystery. (see Acts 28:24) And the Lord's plan of salvation remains distant and confusing.

Which path will you choose? Spiritual confusion, or a natural friendship with the Lord. You still have time to begin this friendship which lasts throughout eternity. That is, unless you would rather not have a friendship with God. He won't force you to receive a new heart and a new mind if you are determined to keep God at arm's length. What a shame that would be, especially after the way Christ extended His arms on the cross for your sins and your eternal salvation.

It's incredible to contemplate what Jesus told His disciples: "I have called you friends." (John 15:15) So was He talking about you?

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.

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