When some of us think about friendship with God, it might feel like a foreign concept. We may have been taught that God is only to be feared or revered, and friendship with God just seems too casual. And while I certainly don’t advocate for making God seem lesser, I do advocate for thinking about God as friend, which naturally rearranges my thoughts on God’s proximity and intimacy with me.
In John 15:14-15 Jesus says, “You are my friends if you do what I command. 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” (NIV).
One time at work, I had to bring up an issue that was funneled up to people in much higher positions than me. Though it was something that directly impacted me, those at the top decided to take matters into their own hands. They left me out of the decision making and didn’t explain why they were doing the things they were doing. They didn’t feel they had to. They were in positions of power, and I was too lowly to need to be informed. My thoughts or feelings on the issue were not a concern and I felt devalued and frustrated.
But in this passage in John, Jesus is saying that is not the case with him.
Because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a change has occurred in our relationship with God. God is no longer a stranger with unknown ways. We know what God’s about and what God’s up to because we know what Jesus was about and what Jesus was up to. Jesus is the living image and revelation of God.
And because of this knowledge, our obedience to God isn’t a forced or blind acceptance. Our obedience is compelled through friendship because we want to be a part of what God’s up to—the redemption and restoration of the world.
And because we’re friends, our input is valued. Our relationship is meaningful. Our worth has more to do with our connection than our output. We have an in with upper management!
We have a friend in high places.
Reflect: Is it easy or hard for you to view God as a friend? Why or why not? In what ways can you cultivate your friendship with God this week?
by Erica Smith
Nature noticer, contemplative wannabe, coffee drinker, wine taster, and novice painter.