“Get to know Jesus face to face – not to get anything from Him, but simply because you love Him.”
AIM TO BE A FRIEND OF GOD
Esther Williams writes that relationships can be the making or breaking of us, that is why it’s important to ask for God’s guidance when forging friendships with others, and to make our heavenly Father our best Friend
Have you ever been in a situation where you are out having lunch with a girlfriend, only to find out, half way through the main course, that you and your friend of 15 years no longer have anything in common? You’re trying to work out your salvation and do what’s right. She’s still waiting for the man she has been living with for the last 15 years to propose. You have invited her to church more times than you can remember – she came once – but after ten years, it’s clear she has no interest. Furthermore, she has got deep into Buddhism. What do you do? You skip dessert – that’s what you do.
This sounds harsh, but it’s taken me a long time to be able to get my head around relationship realities. Sometimes, we come across people in life that we love dearly, and we don’t want to let them go, even when deep down we know they are no longer good for the next level that God is taking us to. We fear the gap that they will leave in our lives; that fear is an indication that we are yet to understand God’s ability to do a new thing.
One of my favourite worship songs is ‘I am a friend of God’ – not because of the musicality of it, but because of the reality of the words:
“Who am I that You are mindful of me;
That You hear me when I call?
And is it true that You are thinking of me?
How You love me – it’s amazing.”
We have to get to the place in our lives where, if Jesus is the only Friend we have, that’s OK.
There are only two people in the Bible who Jesus called His friends: Abraham and Moses. In Exodus 33:11 and James 2:23, it says, “…and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness and he was called a friend of God.’” I believe that being a friend of God was God’s desire for Abraham and Moses, and it is His desire for us today. We are all children of God, but being a friend of God is another level.
I have a big birthday this year. I am not going to tell you how old I am, but it’s a landmark start of a new decade for me. So… I have already started reflecting over my life thus far: the highs and the lows; the successes and failures; the people who have come and gone, and one thing that has been constant is that Friend, Lord Jesus, who always hears me when I call.
There’s a practical truth that I have incorporated into my life to help me develop a deeper relationship with God during 2013.
The power of association is a theme that has been on my heart a lot. God has not called us to everybody and, if we are to stay close to Him, we need to prayerfully consider this. When you have friends that have been part of your life for a while, who are quite happy for you to just coast along – you share your dreams and they question them, and are not as excited about your breakthrough as you’d hoped they would be – perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate those relationships. I am praying for people who are going to fire me up; people who are uncompromising in their faith to walk through the next decade of my life with.
Jesus’ earthly life and ministry have a valuable relationship template. His life demonstrates three types of relationships: acquaintances (crowds), friends (nine of His disciples) and close friends (Peter, James and John), who were with Jesus at His most vulnerable moments. Many of us have revealed our vulnerability to the wrong people, and have been led away from God’s plan for our lives. Let’s make sure that we understand who we are, and whose we are, and place people into the right relationship category.
If you’re single, it can be tempting to be quick to embrace new friendships, because sometimes this appears better than walking alone. I understand. It’s all well and good talking about being a friend of God, but when you’re home alone on yet another Saturday night, it’s not funny. But we need to remember that we serve a God who is still able to speak to us face to face, as a man speaks to a friend. The Bible says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, then you shall ask what you will and it shall be given” (John 15:7). Pray for God to divinely connect you with the right people.
Don’t be distracted this year. Remember, anything that you give up for Christ will be restored back to you. Get to know Jesus face to face – not to get anything from Him, but simply because you love Him.
Esther Williams is an International Development Journalist. You can follow Esther
on Twitter: @mew36