Friday, May 31, 2013

Day 11 - Friend of God?

Bringing pleasure to God is one of our main purposes here on this earth. (The "Thing 1" I spoke of previously) I have talked about how it brings pleasure to God when we surrender our whole selves to Him, when we trust Him completely, and obey Him wholeheartedly.  To me, those seem rather obvious.  Being friends with God?  This brings Him pleasure?  For some reason, I have always had reservations about this concept. (Probably because the enemy was feeding me the lie that this could not be true and he did not want to me to fully understand it…since he knows it would unleash a more constant presence of God in my life…which in turn would produce the actualization of a more purpose driven life)  Today, I get it.

My husband used to lead in praise and worship at our church.  (A sidebar - remember though, worship is not limited to the time of singing during the church service for one hour, once a week…worship continually…with our lifestyle.) He did not usually choose the songs but was told by the music director what song he was to sing.  I remember the first time he sung a song entitled, “I am a Friend of God”, I became very uncomfortable standing there listening to it.  It was almost like it felt blasphemous.  How is this possible?  In my mind, I was thinking that everyone there was putting God on equal terms with themselves.  Like, “yeah, I’m friends with God…we hang out…we’re on the same page…) It seemed so disrespectful in that light.  How can we be friends with God when it sounds so casual?  Who are we to call ourselves “friends of God” to the Creator of the universe, the Redeemer of my soul, the Omnipotent One?  It would be wrong to overlook His “awesomeness” and not feel the reverence at the same time we call Him friend.  This is what gnawed at me when I heard it ringing in the sanctuary.  I found myself barely singing along with the words.

And yet, I knew this idea of being friends with God was backed by scriptures. Why was I having reservations? 

Since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life.”  Romans 5:10

Moses and Abraham were referred to as “friends of God”.

Now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God, - all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.”  Romans 5:11

All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends.” 2 Corinthians 5:18

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

I think that fear struck me that all these people might be too “comfortable” in His presence and had lost the awe of the reality of who He was. (You see how fear can get in the way of everything? I am being completely honest with you right now and exposing my flawed thinking.)  It honestly made me a little nervous.  This next verse is where we see the balance.  “Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence him.  With them alone he shares the secrets of his promises.”  Psalm 25:14   So there is a balance, a give and take.  Friendship is reserved for those who reverence Him.  We can call Him friend all day long, not “yeah, I’m friends with God…we hang out…we’re on the same page”, but we must be reverent at the same time.  Only those who show reverence can have the privilege of calling Him friend and Him calling us friend.  Now I see and understand the reverence in these lyrics.  My judgmental thoughts blinded me from seeing the reverence within the song when I heard it so many years ago, but as I read today’s teaching in What On Earth am I Here For, this song rose up out of my heart and I “heard” the reverence.

Who am I that you are mindful of me?
That you hear me, when I call
Is it true that you are thinking of me?
How you love me, it's amazing (Who am I Lord)

I am a friend of God
I am a friend of God
I am a friend of God
He calls me friend

God Almighty
Lord of Glory
You have called me friend
(Lyrics by Israel Houghton)

Friends share secrets, friends know all the little details about one another, friends enjoy spending quality time together, friends respect one another, friends love one another, and friends enjoy close contact with one another.  Friends share all of their life’s experiences. Friends have direct access…their phone calls have been granted permission for interruptions, they can ask personal questions and get the honest answer.  Rick Warren says, “Knowing and loving God is our greatest privilege, and being known and loved is God’s greatest pleasure.” If we truly know Him, we can’t help but show reverence to Him. It is our greatest privilege when we truly know God and love him, because we have then become friends with Him.  What a privilege! The chain reaction that follows is that it brings Him his greatest pleasure!  

Jeremiah 9:24 says, “If any want to boast, they should boast that they know and understand me…these are the things that please me.”  I am a friend of God.  He calls me friend.  I will boldly boast that fact!  With my eyes straight ahead, I strive to get to know Him a little bit better everyday, just as I am always learning more about my close friends, a little bit more everyday.  The more I know, the more I love, and the more I love, the more time I want to spend with Him, and the more time I spend with Him, the more I share, and the more I share, the more that gets shared back to me, and the more I enjoy His presence…He calls me friend.

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