We live today in a time where technology has literally transformed our lives. Daniel spoke of a time where knowledge would be greatly increased, and if ever a time fit that description, it would be the days that we are living in today.
In many ways, even our language has changed — words have taken on new meaning, and even new definitions in some cases. There’s a whole new method of communication that many of us older folks have a hard time understanding. Abbreviations are used in place of phrases in emails and texts today. We have “lol” instead of “laugh out loud,” and “ttfn” instead of “ta ta for now.” One such usage that has caught my attention is “bff,” for Best Friends Forever.
Now that’s a really nice concept, and I have no doubt it is well-intentioned in most cases, even if it is a bit shallow the way it is used today. But there is One who truly is the best friend you could ever hope to have, and what He proposes to do for you and I really is “forever.”
Friend of God
In James 2:23, Abraham has the wonderful privilege of being named as “the friend of God.” Abraham was also called “the father of the faithful” – a spiritual progenitor, if you will – a human forerunner and example of how we are to act toward, and relate to, the Godhead.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 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. (John 15:13-15)
If we pause a moment to think about that, we have to admit that there is really no greater form of friendship than what God expressed towards us all in sending His Son to lay down His life for us. Brethren, it really is worth every effort, worth setting aside everything in and of this life and this world, to have this being as our true BFF.
The apostle Paul had a way of putting this into words in Philippians 3 that I couldn’t begin to articulate myself. Let’s read a few verses there:
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:7-14)
I don’t know about all of you, but in my early years in the church, I really think I thought of the Godhead more in terms of Them being supreme overlords, or authority figures. The types of Beings who might swat you like a fly if you cross the line, and dare to disobey Their strict set of laws.
After many years of studying what these two beings are really like though, there has been a transition. I think that obedience to their laws of liberty is done with the full knowledge that They are what They are, and They do what They do, only out of complete love and concern for us all. So obedience comes not from FEAR of them, but from awe, respect and reverence FOR them.
Based on my own experience in ‘the faith’ there is a scripture that pretty well wraps up in a nutshell what I’m trying to convey today.
For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Pet. 2:25)
Weren’t we ALL like that at some point in our lives? Just like dumb farm animals … going, and living our own way?
This scripture pictures Christ in His daily, active presence in each of our lives today, right now. The Greek word for “Shepherd” is poimen (G4166), and it means“A spiritual guide who watches over and provides for the welfare of His flock.”
The word translated “Overseer” is episkopos (G1985). This word pictures an ever-vigilant watcher or watchman … a guardian, who intimately knows each and every one of us, and our vulnerabilities as no human shepherd, overseer, or BFF could. We can deceive a human overseer, brethren, but this One can never be deceived. David devoted portions of several Psalms to the fact that the LORD knows the deepest secrets of our hearts, and we can trust Him to work within us to bring about the best possible end for all of us.
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. (Ps. 139:1-10)
Now I don’t know about you, but that is certainly the kind of being that I want for my BFF.