Friday, June 19, 2009

Friendship With God

I’m playing for $1,000,000 on a television game show—all the world is watching—and the final question is: “What’s the most valuable ingredient in your day-to-day relationship with God?”

And my final answer is: “Friendship.”

I believe that the best ingredient in my daily life with God is friendship—He is actually my best friend. If He were not, then my attempts at service and discipleship and obedience would become dry and necessary work-a-day items worthy of who He is—the Big Boss. I would have a sort of employee relationship with God, who would always be scrutinizing and measuring my performance. Did you punch your time card today? Were you on time? Did you have a pleasing attitude? Did you whistle while you worked?

No thanks. Not for me. And not for Him either.

Have you ever gotten tired of serving, serving, serving? What ended your fatigue? Wasn't it when you stopped and got off the job? Doesn't that tell you that there's something missing in your service? There is. It's friendship with God. While ultimately He is the Big Boss in the Big Office, He doesn't confine Himself to proper relationships commensurate to His status, shunning interaction with the lower subjects of his corporation. He's with you! Right there on the job, sharing in your labor, delighting in your style, making much of Himself by pointing at you in front of the angels. He enjoys you!

I don't mean to demean service to God, it's just that many of us have been kept from the delight and honor of it because we're so concerned with how we're doing it and that we have to! Nowadays we commonly measure ourselves by the amount and quality of our service but rarely by the enjoyment of our friendship with our Friend.

One of the most startling things I tell the people in ministry with me, be it Children's, Youth, Music, Women's, etc., is that they don't have to do it. “Cathe, there's no one collecting your time card at the end of this week, you know.” If service to God has become a grinding drudgery, the antidote is not more service or less—it's a renewal of friendship with God. Discovering that we can enjoy His friendship on the job is what keeps us well in the job. When serving becomes more important than friendship with Him, the life and value go out of it, and you probably know what a power outage that is.

Serving God is a high calling—friendship with God is the fuel. Yet if we can be sold on the idea that service is the highest compliment to God and not love reciprocated and friendship enjoyed, then Satan can soon weary us. That will prevent the full stature of who and what we are from emerging in us. And something of the glory of God gets hidden from view.

But what if we give ourselves to enjoying God and His friendship with us? Will we get much out of it? Will we still serve Him? Will it help us on the job and make a car payment? Yes! Sort of. Friends love each other and love works. More specifically, love invigorates and compels us; it motivates us and carries us into the day in order to see where it might rush out, as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:14. It's relatively effortless, like a perfect stream moving through you. And couldn't you use a little bit of that on the job? How about around home or in your relationships?

Let me ask you this: if you spent a day dwelling upon and enjoying the love God has for you, would you expect to receive an infusion of power, some real "Oomph" for your day? Would you expect to be supplied, compelled and driven by it and think that it would be the best thing for your day?

Many people don’t think so, and that’s a big flaw.

As Christians, when we fail and break down, it's not because we’ve failed to serve enough or “just right,” it's a failure of love. I’m tellin’ you. Fortunately, God's love is at all times available and lavished upon us because of His grace to us in Christ. He has made us entirely lovable! Knowing what He thinks of you, knowing why He approaches you in the manner He does (as a friend!) is all because of grace. When you believe that He has made you His friend, what do you suppose He’ll think when you approach Him as if it’s true? What if you asked Him, “How’s my Friend today?” You know He’d love it! And that kind of approach to Him, that kind of relationship will greatly affect your love and life.

In love and friendship you'll look and act like a servant and disciple of Christ. With appreciated grace in evidence—you'll look great.

1 comment:

  1. The Professor9:33 AM


    I'd like to hear your view on the following:

    The author is discussing what he calls "common misconceptions" about faith. In that context, he addresses the idea of a "personal relationship" with God:

    "...the relationship between the believer and God is framed in terms of an ancient client-patron relationship."

    "As God's 'clients' to whom he has shown unmerited favor (grace), our response should be... a 'constant awareness' of prescribed duties toward those in whom we are indebted (God) and the group in which we are embedded (God's kin group, the body of Christ)."

    "This 'constant awareness' is the expression of our faithfulness of loyalty -- in other words, this is our pistis, or faith. 'Faith' is not a feeling, but our pledge to trust, and be reliable servants to, our patron (God), who has provided us with tangible gifts (Christ) and proof thereby of His own reliability."

    "...the modern idea of a 'personal relationship with Jesus'... is the modern staple of evangelism. Given the above data, the actual description that fits an authentic faith is not a personal relationship, but a patronal relationship. Modern sentiments that call Jesus our 'friend' and suppose that we ought to talk to God as to our best buddy are, in this context, clearly misplaced."

    "The casualness with which we approach a relationship to the Almighty is decidedly far from what the ancients would have perceived; indeed, the client seldom if ever spoke to or saw the patron (here, the Father) and had even limited contact with the broker (here, Jesus); thus Jesus' admonition to make requests of him hardly signifies a constant appeal for every possible need to be met as we desire!"

    I'm only quoting a small part of the entire article. You probably want to read it in it's entirety to get the proper context.