I am a Friend of God – Epiphany on the Track

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friend/frɛnd/ – noun

a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection

This thought was shared with our Bible Study group a while ago, and it resonated with me for days. Sometimes a simple concept that you have known forever can strike you, hit you in the face, and for some reason bubble down deep within your soul. This concept of Jesus as our friend (for some reason – well, I know the reason…the Holy Spirit), has really it me personally.

The following are some scriptures that deal with the concept of Jesus as our friend.

James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.

This scripture is talking about the events following Abraham called to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. He faithfully takes Isaac to the mountain and prepares to offer his son as a sacrifice. An angel stops him right before he follows through, and offers a ram caught in the thicket. But the interesting thing is, after Abraham has shown true faithfulness, he was called God’s friend.

The Amplified Bible puts it this way – “And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and this [faith] was credited to him [by God] as righteousness and as conformity to His will,” and he was called the friend of God.” This implies that because Abraham followed the will of God, he was called God’s friend. Now offering your child as a sacrifice is a pretty extreme following of God’s will…but I like to take it to mean ANY following of God’s will in your life = friend of God. How cool is that!

God chooses us, God calls us His friend!

Isaiah 41:8 says “But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend” This goes further to say that Israel (descendants of Jacob), were chosen. God chose Israel, calling Abraham as God’s friend, or one can read it as God calling Israel (the chosen), God’s friend. And through the new covenant that Jesus brought to humanity, God chooses US, God calls US His friend!

John 15:13-15 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 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.

The scripture above is Jesus presenting Grace in all its glory. We are no longer servants, or slaves, but a friend of God! That is freedom and release from chains of burdens. Sometimes in scripture, we are called Sons or Daughters of God. This implies God as the Father. Sometimes we are called Princes and Princesses. And similarly this implies God above us as King. But the beautiful thing is, when God calls us FRIEND, it is a mutual understanding. It is a side-by-side relationship.

God likes us. When we stuff up, He likes us! When we are feeling down, and in the valley, he likes us. He is there with us…as a friend. When we have success, joy or times of fun, He (you guessed it) likes us!

He is your friend because He chose you.

I had an epiphany last weekend while hiking out from Lake Daniells (Lewis Pass, New Zealand). I had about half an hour of glorious alone time while hiking, and the thought came back to my mind that Jesus is my friend. Life could be seen as a lot like Jesus hiking along side of me, journeying with me. Through the good, the bad and the ugly.

Beautiful mossy, Podacarp forest – Lewis Pass, New Zealand

Often we think about God as being above, looking down smiling, or shaking his head at our antics. But this time, the image that the Holy Spirit gave me was of Jesus hiking beside me, kicking up the leaves as we walked, agreeing with me as I pointed out a cool view – and reminding me that he made that view just for us. I imagined him laughing as we both got our feet muddy crossing a creek, and him offering a hand as I navigated tree roots. I imagined him saying “yeah that river is pretty amazing huh. I created that for you, cool eh!

God’s magnificent creation
Lake Daniells

And as we walked along, Jesus would say; “did you see the Robin following us? And what about the Moreporks – did you hear them last night calling across the valleys? Yeah I engineered that for us too.” It was such a powerful image of a side-by-side friend relationship, experiencing things together.

Jesus like us, He likes you. He is your friend because He chose you. This is nothing we have done, or could do to make him like us any more. It is all about Him, His power, His grace, His favour. May you be blessed knowing His love for you as a King, Father and Friend.

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