When I was on my son's field trip last week, his teacher kept calling all her students her friends. She would call out to them, "Friends, please stay in your seat!" I have to say I thought that was so odd. But while preparing for this blog entry on how we are God's friends, I have a better understanding on it. After all the God of the Universe calls us His friends! How amazing is that!?! I don't often consider someone in authority over me my friend. But God is different. Let me tell you how and why.
We know we are God's friend because the gift of God's friendship is extended to us through Jesus. Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his 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 (John 15:13-15). Jesus showed the greatest act of love and friendship to us by going to the cross and dying in our place. But it doesn't end there. He continues to show us friendship by including us in his business, the reconciliation of mankind.
Jesus demonstrates His love and friendship to us personally in several ways. He encourages us with His word by bringing special verses to our attention. He fills us with His presence, refreshes our spirit, and revives us. Jesus includes us in His divine purposes by using our lives to bless others and bring glory to His name. He takes away our burdens, listens to us, and cares for us. Do you feel this divine friendship?
If you feel there is something missing in your friendship with Jesus, then its important to improve it. One of the ways we can is by spending time together just as we would do with in an earthly relationship. This means we increase our quantity and quality of time spent with Jesus. What we don't do is increase our time spent "doing things" for Jesus. Remember in Luke 10:38-42 when Martha was busy doing things and Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus. Jesus said, "Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her". If we really want to discover how wonderful it is to have a friendship with Jesus, we need to make time to fellowship with him through Bible study, prayer, worship, listening, etc.
The second thing we can do to improve our friendship with Jesus, or anyone else, is to remove any obstructions in the relationship. Obstructions are what would block our friendship with Jesus such as sins, attitudes, or issues. They become barriers between us and Jesus. We can remove these barriers by identifying them. Let's ask ourselves these questions: what is standing in the way?, what am I refusing to do?, what am I rebelling about? Is there a fear, disobedience, or a lack of trust? When we identify the barrier, confess it and ask for forgiveness, then it's gone. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Another way to improve our relationship with Jesus is to serve him. Jesus already showed the greatest example of servant hood to us on the cross. He continues to serve us by all the things He does for us each and every day. Serving Jesus is not about our "busyness". It's about our love for Jesus and the desire to do something for Him. Find a way to serve Him using your gifts and abilities and see how your friendship deepens.
Finally to improve our friendship with Jesus, we can affirm the importance of it. Simply, verbally speak out your love and affection to Him. Jesus has already said "I love you". All you have to do is say "I love you too!"