How often do we consider God as our best friend? Is it even right to think like that? Is it biblical? Does God consider us as his friends? What does it mean to be God's friend?
Each person may have a unique definition of their relationship with God. God is a Father, a Creator, a Master, a King, a Savior, maybe an "all-in-all". Yes, we can see all these relations in Christian life. However, the intimacy and depth of a mutual relation reflected when God becomes our friend is unique! Webster defines the word 'friend' as "One attached to another by affection." The intimacy of this attachment is the level of friendship.
In this world, we may find casual friends, close friends, communal friends, conditional friends, internet friends, and even imaginary friends. Of all these types of friendships, best friend or closest friend is the type that has its depth and intimacy. Friendship is defined as a "form of interpersonal relationship generally considered to be closer than association". For a person to be one's best friend, there should be
God surely has a desire for our best, He is the most honest person to us, He understands us the most, He enjoys our company and He even trusts us! Yes, He is our true friend! Now the question is do we have the same feeling back? God wants us to be His friends.
John 15: 15 - 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 (NIV).
God wants us to know (understand) His "business" so that we may be his friends - those who trust him, those who are honest with him, those who think about the best of the spirituality, and those who enjoy His company.
John 15:14 - You are my friends if you do what I command.
We may want to ask ourselves if God is just an acquaintance (merely an association) or do we consider him as our friend. To consider him as a friend, based on John 15:15, we need to understand His business. What is God up to? Why did He came to save us? Once we fully understand the purpose of salvation, we would love to call God as our Friend.
In old testament, God was not ashamed to call Abraham as his Friend.
Isaiah 41:8 - “But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend,..." (NIV)
The people of Israel did know that God was proud to be referred to as Abraham's friend!
2 Chronicles 20:7 - Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?
They even called God a friend when they desperately needed Him
Jeremiah 3:4 - Have you not just called to me: ‘My Father, my friend from my youth, ... (NIV)
What made Abraham to be raised to the position of God's friend? Apostle James answers this question in his epistle:
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.
Abraham believed (trusted) God.. He believed that for God, nothing is impossible to God. We often calculate the probabilities to determine possibilities. But trusting the God for the improbable makes us believers!
In return God trusted Abraham too!!! Genesis 18:17 - Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing . . . ? Wow! that's powerful and amazing!! A mutual relation where there are no secrets! The depth and intimacy of that relation reflects in the numerous face to face meetings God used to have with Abraham
Moses was also referred to as someone like a friend to God.
Exodus 33:11 - The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.
In one of those several occasions, Moses's face became radiant. I should say he was so close to God when he talked that he started reflecting God's radiance. God knew Moses very closely and he was a man of God's mind.
Deuteronomy 34: 10 - Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.
I would like to challenge you to have a passion to be like Moses in the relationship with God. Let us pray that God talk to us face to face, like a friend, showing his radiance.. Let our eyes be blessed to see God's radiance, Let our ears be blessed to hear His Voice and Let our mind be blessed to understand His Words.
God trusted Moses too.
Exodus 33:17 - And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."
'I know you by name' - In other words, I know you personally. Like a friend. What a privilege it is! To be someone close to God's heart!
Moses was not ashamed to trust God against all probabilities. He set aside all the human logic when he went to Pharaoh without any support. He trusted the God so blindly that he boldly commanded the king to let the Israelites go.
Here also we see that mutual trust marks the foundation of the friendship.
Coming to the new testament, we already saw that Jesus called us His friends (John 15:15) and laid out the way how we can be His friends (John 15:14,15). He shows us that he is our best friend by laying his life for us in Calvary.
John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
That's the depth of his friendship to us. Are we ready or willing to lay our lives for the cause of Jesus? Can we imagine a moment when we and/or our loved ones are at a point blank gun point and are challenged to deny Jesus to get our lives back? What would be our reaction in such a situation? Would we prove ourselves as friends of Jesus at such a moment? Would we really remember the following verse then?
Luke 12:4 - “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.
Jesus considered even Judas Iscariot as his friend!
Matthew 26:50 - Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”
A man like Judas will not be referred to as 'Friend' by anybody. Judas was very far from the friendship with Jesus. Yet, He considered Judas as a friend. With all our iniquities, our selfishness, our dishonesty God still is our friend!! Even when we break our relationship with Him, or forgets His existence, he stills calls us are friends -
John 21:5 - He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
This was when his disciples went back the fishing (from where they were delivered once) after the Crucifixion. Hasn't it happened that sometimes we just drift from His love and turn back to sins where we were delivered from?
Let us submit ourselves to hear His loving call to bring us back in the relationship.
When do the friendship with Jesus start in a man's life? The moment a person believes in Him.
Luke 5:20 - When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
Faith makes God as our friend! The trust that nothing is impossible to God is the mark of our friendship with Him! This is true in the case of Lazarus as well. Lazarus and his sisters were friends of Jesus.
John 11:11 - After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to wake him up.”
We can see Jesus referring the relationship to us as friendship even in some of his parables:
Matthew 20:13 - “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?
Matthew 22:12 - He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’
Luke 5:34 - Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?
Let us pray God to make our relationship mutual with Him in a true, deep, intimate, and consistent friendship. Lets long to hear his voice directly and to talk to Him as if we do to our human friends.
God Bless You.
PS: Unless otherwise mentioned, all quotations of the Bible verses are from NIV