Tag Archives: friend of God

Best Friends Forever

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.

My BFF

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.

The Interactive Book: Judgment and Friendship

In last week’s post, we saw how “the twelve” were confronted with a choice in John 6:67 in the form of a question, “Do you also want to go away?”   Many other disciples had heard some hard to understand truths from the mouth of Jesus Christ, and “walked with Him no more” (vs.66).   Peter’s answer revealed a Spirit-led recognition of the One source of real spiritual truth.    Peter recognized that Christ was the One who had “the words of eternal life”.   In this post, we will see how our response to these “words of eternal life” establishes us as true followers of Jesus Christ by setting the standard by which we are judged.

In Acts, we find Paul and Barnabas preaching these words of life in Antioch. The Jews here were being shown favor by God. His word was offered to them, free for the taking, and they rejected it.

Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’” Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:46-48)

Notice how important it is to seize every opportunity to embrace the word of God, and take it in. Also, note how this is worded – the Jews judged themselves unworthy of eternal life. During this Feast of Unleavened Bread, I asked myself a question. How am I judging myself in the way I view and respond to God’s Holy Word – to His son, the One Sent, personified in print?

Judging Ourselves

I’m sure we all spent some time in 1 Corinthians 11 prior to the passover. Let’s look at verse 31 in light of what we just read about the Jews in Acts 13.

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1 Cor. 11.31)

The word “judge” here is diakrino (G1252). It means “to separate thoroughly,” to distinguish ourselves (by self correction in the light of God’s word) to give evidence in the way we respond to God’s words, His loving correction, and to His teachings that we are “worthy of life.”

He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” (John 12:48-50)

Christ told us here in John what the judgment of mankind is based on. In one sense, when we all come up before the throne, there isn’t really going to be anything for Him to do because we judge ourselves by the way we respond to His words. That can sound scary, but the thing to really keep in mind is that every word of God is given for our benefit.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

God wants this for all of us. His words are freely given in the Bible to do us good, and also to equip us for doing good. The words Christ spoke are “are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). This is an incredible opportunity if we listen to Him, but there is also a great danger in ignoring His words.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. …

Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:39-40, 47)

Here is what Moses wrote about Christ, as He recorded the Lord’s words about the coming Prophet: I “will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him” (Deut 18:18-19).

In the end, we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and be judged by the word of God as delivered to us through Jesus Christ. We are judged by His words, His character, His personality, His worldview, and nothing else. And that judgment is taking place right now, as we interact with the words of the Bible. In effect, we are bringing our own judgment upon us day by day … good or bad.

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)

Brethren, there’s a whole world full of people out there who reject and despise this One who is called “the word of God,” but there are only a few that He calls “My own” and “My friends,” to whom He reveals a little bit of His true greatness and character.

Friends of God

Abraham, the “father of the faithful” was called “the friend of God” (James 2:23). Can we, the called out ones, be that as well? Are we called out of this world to have an “arm’s length” relationship with the Father and the “One Sent,” or will our response to the Word of life lead to a true friendship, just like Abraham had? His life wasn’t easy … we can’t expect to get through this thing trial free.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. (1 John 1:1-4)

These words were spoken that we might have joy. And we can go on from this Feast of Unleavened Bread knowing that the door stands wide open for us to true fellowship with God the Father and the Word of Life. I can think of no better example of embracing the Word of Life than David.

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. … This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life. … Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. … Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it. … The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. Princes persecute me without a cause, but my heart stands in awe of Your word. I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure. (Ps. 119:1, 50, 105, 140, 160-162)

Nowhere in the scriptures do you get a more personal view of God than in the psalms of David. What made David a man after God’s own heart?

Concerning the works of men, by the word of Your lips, I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer. Uphold my steps in Your paths, that my footsteps may not slip. … As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness. (Ps. 17:4-5, 15)

David was not living for this physical life, but for real life. We’ve always taught that what made David “a man after God’s own heart” was his readiness to repent of sin … but why was he so willing to repent of sin? Because he valued his relationship with the Godhead more than anything else!

We can see more parallels between David’s life and our relationship with God when we look at the battles David had to fight. In these physical wars, David said,

It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great. You enlarged my path under me, so my feet did not slip. (Ps. 18:32-36)

In much the same way, God arms us to fight battles, not against physical enemies, “but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Like David, when we find ourselves in a tight spot, we should be looking to God and saying, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Ps. 23:1; see also 1 Peter 2:25). This is why David was called a man after God’s own heart – because of thoughts like this toward God and His son.

The same door stands wide open for us right now today. Each of us can say “the Lord is my shepherd.” We have the words of the Word of God in greater fullness than David ever had, and with that a chance to learn about Christ as our shepherd from the Shepherd Himself. Reading John chapter 10, we see that Christ wants an intimate relationship with His sheep, and offers that chance to each one who hears His words.

“The Interactive Book” series:

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Key To Scripture

Part 3: Fellowship With The Word Of Life

Part 4: Judgment and Friendship

Part 5: A Personal Call

Part 6: Working Out Your Own Salvation