What does friendship with God look like? How does it work?
There is one God who exists as three persons. Friendship with God must mean friendship with the Father, friendship with Jesus, and friendship with the Holy Spirit. Within the Trinity there is the deepest and greatest love and enjoyment of each other. The greatest of human friendships (David and Jonathan, Abraham and Issac, Ruth and Naomi, Yet it is a friendship that all believers are drawn into so that they can experience it by participating in it. Jesus said,
"If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. - John 14:23
The root of true friendship is mutual love. A love that motivates us to enjoy the other. We admire what is best about them and enjoy what they say and do. In fact we enjoy their success more than our own - as a dad I enjoy my children's successes more than my own. By the way, "friendship" is not a separate category from family; friendship encompases family and marriage.
But how do you exercise and enjoy your friendship with your heavenly Father, Christ your brother-King, and the Holy Spirit, your counselor-teacher? We do this individually by learning how each of them relates with us. Paul helps us with this when he describes key elements of how each person of the Trinity touches us in friendship.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
The Father's love - oh how he loves us
Some Christians are unsure of the Father's love. They have learned that "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so," but they may fear the Father and believe that Christ stands between them and wrath of the Father. Jesus disciples may have wondered the same thing until he set them straight:
In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you... (John 16:26-27)
How would you feel if there is someone you love deeply, but they refuse to believe that you love them? Nothing grieves the heart of your heavenly Father than for you to believe he does not love you. Yes, it breaks his heat that someone he loves with so great a love, does not receive that love.
Do you want to experience joy of a friendship that makes your heart soar heavenward? Then you must receive the love of you Father in heaven. "Abba" the intimate name that a child calls its father, as we might call our fathers "Dad" or "Daddy." Jesus called out to his "Abba" when he was in the garden of Gethsemane. And our heavenly Father wants us to see him in the same intimate way. Paul writes to the Romans saying,
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." (Romans 8:15)
So recieve, and do not doubt, the Father's love for you. It is not a general love for people, it is a personal, one-to-one love for you. Believe it and receive it continuously. Believe most when you sin. The devil wants you to think that the Father withdraws his love and punishes you when you sin. That is a LIE. The Father's love does not waiver like the flame of a candle - it is constant and powerful like the blazing sun. Christ has born all that justice demands for your sins (past and future.) The Father will discipline us in love, with a discipline that always results in joy for us (though it may take time for us to reach that result.) Know that the Father greatly desires for you to see and enjoy all the ways in which he pours out his love to you. Think often on all of the ways he has loved you. Look around you at all the tokens of love that he lays out before you. Believe his promise that he will work all things together for your good - that is what a true firend does.
Friendship is a two way street. Receiving, embracing and enjoying the love of the Father is the first part of that friendship. The second is responding with love to your heavenly Father. He not only longs for you to receive his love, he also longs to be loved by you. He delights in the love of his children. Yes, you bring joy to God (Father, Son and Spirit) when you love the Father. How can we love our Father? We love him by seeing and enjoying him as he truely is. We seek to know him, looking upon his beauty and glory as he reveals to us in his own words preserved in the bible. We love him by seeking him and asking him to lead us daily through prayer and by obeying the clear commandments he has given us in his word. We obey not out of fear, or out of desire for reward, but because we love him and we know our obedience (an imitation of Christ) gives him joy. We love him by being satisfied and content in him, by being careful that nothing and no one comes into our life to take even the smallest part of the love we have for God.
Tell him you love him. Tell him with words and actions.
How He Loves
- David Crowder Band