Do I Treat God Like A Friend?

Friend with Jesus - clear

Spending Time With A Friend

There are many religious traditions, even Christian church denominations, where God is not represented as a friendly person.  He’s stern, angry, or just plain mean.  I have to admit that I thought about God in exactly those kinds of terms.  Then when I was presented the gospel, it came as a shock to be told that God actually wanted to be my friend.  On the last night of His life, Jesus tells the disciples that they are His friends.

“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”   John 15:15

What’s even more startling is that Jesus says that His friendship is not just for the elite.  In Matthew 11:19 He calls Himself “a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” So the Lord extends His hand of friendship to anyone willing to accept His offer of salvation and lordship.  He quite literally wants to be my friend.

But, I’ve been thinking… Do I treat Him like a friend?  To begin to answer that question I have to think through what’s involved in being a friend in the first place.  How does someone become a friend?  What’s the formula?

Think about the friends in your life.  Not just acquaintances but people you consider good, close friends.  How did they get to that status?  And how does that relate to treating God like a friend?

There is one factor that makes all the difference.  A factor that turns someone I like into someone I think of as a true friend, the same factor that turns God from a distant acquaintance to a close friend…Time!

You cannot establish a friendship with someone if you don’t invest the time to get to know them.  In the same way, thinking about God once a week during a church service isn’t going to bring you to that close fellowship of friendship with the Lord.  Remember how it was with your long-time childhood friends?  You saw each other every day.  You spent hours and hours in each others company.  You talked.  You listened.  You spent TIME together.  Sounds like what Jesus told his disciples… “Follow me.”  He didn’t say, “Look me up every-so-often when it’s convenient.”

This is one of the reasons why so few of us have close friends in our lives.  We just don’t want to give anyone that kind of time… including God.  Why don’t I study my Bible and pray every day?  I just don’t have time (or more realistically, I don’t want to give God that kind of time).  I’m just not interested in working on that friendship.

If Christ is going to be a real friend in my life He doesn’t follow me around begging for me to glance His way for a second or two.  That’s not a friendship. He wants me to spend time with Him… every day.  Do I do that?

Do I have lengthy conversations with Him?  Do I tell Him my dreams, my fears, and my struggles?  That’s what we do with real friends, isn’t it?  And while we’re talking about conversations… no friendships have ever come out of a constant one-way conversation.

In his book, “My Utmost for His Highest,” Oswald Chambers asks a great question.

“What is the sign of a friend? That he tells you secret sorrows? No, that he tells you secret joys. Many will confide to you their secret sorrows, but the last mark of intimacy is to confide secret joys. Have we ever let God tell us any of His joys, or are we telling God our secrets so continually that we leave no room for Him to talk to us?”

That brings me to my last point.  If we are establishing our friendship with Christ by spending time with Him and having a two-way conversation, how does He speak back to us?

God’s chosen method of telling us about Himself and His desires is the Bible.  Therefore, in spending time establishing a close-friend relationship with God, am I allowing Him to speak to me through His word?  Am I spending any time reading it and asking Him to tell me through its pages what He has in mind for our relationship?

Great Questions To Consider

Do I treat God like a friend?  Do I spend significant amounts of time with Him?  Do I talk to Him about my life AND do I allow Him to talk to me about my life?

Think about it…

SPECIAL NOTE:  I’d like to thank Helen Thomas Robson for the use of her beautiful picture of the Lord walking as a friend.  When I first say her photo, I didn’t know where it was from but it was so perfect I used it anyway.  Helen was very gracious when she contacted me and I was delighted to know where it came from.  Check out her beautiful web site and all her great work.  https://www.capturedmiracles.org/

Thank you Helen for your generosity.

 

7 Comments

  • Awesome article Len. I really enjoyed reading this. You have made some incredible points and led me to strive to improve my relationship with God even more. God Bless!

  • Sabrina Daniel says:

    Thank you for the good word about the Lord wanting a friendship with us. I think that you are right —–friendships take time and they also take effort. They take someone being intentional. Someone has to take the initiative. The Lord took the initiative to send Jesus. The world and as individuals, we may respond to Him. However, it is not only an initial response, but a daily, moment-by-moment response to Him. Sometimes our response is reading the Word, sometimes it is quietness/reflection, sometimes it is prayer, sometimes it is journaling, or sometimes it is an act of obedience. All of these things develop our friendship with Him.

  • Greg Melton says:

    Awesome article Len! The right message at the right time. Thanks for allowing God to use you with this ministry.

    • Len Allen says:

      Thanks for the comment. This blog is indeed part of my personal ministry in the Lord. It has become a way I can share things from the word of God in a way that stimulate fresh perspective on issues in our lives. It’s a blessing to be able to do it and a blessing hearing from readers who enjoy it. Thanks for thinking about “I’ve Been Thinking…”

  • Sue says:

    Exactly what we’ve been talking about in women’s youth group. What DO we invest our time in? TV, clothes, social media, friends, family, our physical being, busyness (or business), or God? Good article.

    • Len Allen says:

      Glad to hear you “gals” are talking about this… it would be a productive conversation for some men’s groups. Is investing more time in watching TV, playing sports, hangin’ with the guys really giving God His due? Hmmmmm?!!

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