A Friend of God
“Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend… I know you by name.” (Exodus 33:11, 17)
“The Scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness—and he was called a friend of God.” (James 2:23)
“You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:14-15)
To be a Christian friend who loves others as God loves us, we first must be friends of Jesus Christ. Would you consider yourself an acquaintance, companion, or friend of God? An acquaintance is someone who only knows a person based on a brief encounter or through a joint work or ministry. An acquaintance of God might be someone who has met him in Scripture but is not engaged in a growing relationship. A Christian may perhaps be an acquaintance of God–who was called to faith in Christ and then put the brakes on rather than seek a deeper friendship. (Pastors and theologians, please feel free to weigh in on this comment; I welcome your guidance.) A companion of God is someone who spends time with him and knows his ways. This companion of God is most likely also his friend. However, it is possible to spend time with the Lord through Bible study, prayer, and service and not understand his character or doctrine properly. For example, many Christians today still struggle with the idea that their works are somehow necessary to hold onto their salvation, doubting the assurance of the Bible, that they are saved by grace alone. “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:29)
But being a friend of God involves correctly understanding and loving his character and truths, as we love our closest, most intimate friend. To be the best possible friend to others, our relationship with Christ must be our most intimate one. The more we know him personally and theologically, the closer we become. When we are close to Jesus, through his revelation in Scripture, we have his discernment, wisdom, righteousness, joy, and love to share with others (John 14:14-15). Moses and Abraham knew God intimately because he chose them, just as God chooses Christians to know Christ. “You did not choose me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16)
John the Baptist was called by God to be a friend to the Bridegroom. “You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.” (John 3:28-29)
We become like the people with whom we spend time. Thus, our relationships with Jesus Christ have a direct bearing on our friendships with others. Being a wise, godly friend should become more comfortable and natural as we mature spiritually. Are you a friend of God, or more like a companion or acquaintance? How might you draw closer to Jesus as his friend?