John 15:13-15, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. (14) You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. (15) No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
Of all that we understand about God and how we relate to Him, perhaps the most powerful, encouraging and soul stirring, is the idea of friendship. God regards us as His friends and He wants us to look upon Him in the spirit of friendship. Some things to reflect upon in the light of this wonderful truth.
* Bear in mind that God is the Creator. We are merely dust in His presence. Imagine the most important and powerful ruler in the world choosing to befriend a peasant child. The child can offer nothing in return. The child does not bring wisdom, ability, recourses, or connections to the relationship. The child brings poverty and immaturity to the relationship. Friendship very rarely if ever exists outside equal standing. Yet it does with God. Psalm 8:4, “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?”
* Bear in mind that we once treated God as an enemy. We befriend people that we connect with. We befriend people who we think will reciprocate our friendship. God extended the hand of friendship to us while we were in rebellion to Him. He did so through His own suffering at Calvary. How many of us have sought to embrace people who positively reject us – and furthermore, embraced them at immense personal cost. God has. Rom 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
* Bear in mind that we continue to sin. God does not wash His hands of us even though our attitudes, thoughts, desires, speech, and actions can be completely offensive to Him. There are times when we actively push Him away through deliberate sin. We all know how fickle friendship can be – you offend someone, they offend you, it’s all over. If the friendship isn’t dead and buried it loses its lustre. Christ said in John 15:14, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” It doesn’t mean when we sin He ceases to like us. It means we have treated the friendship with contempt. Yet God always urges us to return to Him. 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” A true friend indeed.
Life has plenty of curveballs to throw at us. There will be times when providence is painful and we can’t make sense of it. One thing we can be sure of however, is the friendship of God. God’s friendship is immutable. He isn’t fickle. He doesn’t discard one friend for another. He doesn’t “ghost” us as the popular expression puts it. God is that friend who sticks closer than a brother. Let us rejoice in this and be glad. If you have made peace with God through the Gospel, He is your friend now and will be forever more.