Pastor Jim Mann
“This is My command: love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father.” (John 15:12-15, HCSB)
Can you imagine that God—the Creator of the universe—wants to be your friend? Well, that’s what Jesus said. What can you do to be a better friend to God?
Stay close to Him. Friendships develop because of proximity. Friends grow up and go to school together, live in a dorm room together, work together. Friendships develop over time and through shared experiences. We have lots of acquaintances we run into at the Clubhouse or people we knew “back in the day,” but we don’t consider them friends.
The same is true with God. If you run into him a couple times a year at church, you might just be acquaintances. To develop a friendship with him, you need to go where he is and spend quality time with Him.
Adopt God’s Interests. Friendships usually develop around shared interests. Generally you and your closest friends agree on most things and tend to dislike the same things.
That’s true with God, too. Jesus was saying this exact thing in John 15. If you’re my friends, you’ll do what I do. And James tells us the opposite is true, too. “…Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy.” (James 4:4, HCSB)
Be open and honest. True friends build their relationship around honesty. You won’t stay friends long with someone who constantly keeps secrets from you or doesn’t tell you the truth…even sometimes when you don’t want to hear the truth.
With God it is no different. Of course you can misrepresent yourself to God all the livelong day, but guess what…he knows. He’s not fooled. Neither is he impressed. His love for us will not change either way…but our untruthfulness WILL harm our relationship with him.
Be consistent. Finally, there’s consistency. I have great friends from college, but I don’t keep up with them. We tried, but then we got married, had kids, moved to different towns and took different jobs. We could have stayed close, but it would have taken consistent effort over the years.
As with any relationship, a friendship with God requires continuous effort. If you’re like me and tend to be inconsistent, then work on that. Make an effort to read the Bible. Make an effort to talk to him in prayer. Like Jesus said in John 15, join him in the work that God loves—evangelism, kindness, justice, honesty—and be his friend.
See you in church!
Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit New Life’s website: www.NewLifeDenton.org for more information.