“Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”-and he was called a friend of God.” (James 2:23)
I wonder what kind of relationship with God you aspire to? Do you see yourself as a follower of Jesus, or perhaps a disciple? In the Old Testament, we read of two people who were called a friend of God. What a beautiful statement.
Abraham, as we read in the tile verse, was one of the two who were described as friends. Moses was the second one.
“So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” (Exodus 33:11)
Shortly before his death, Jesus referred to his disciples as ‘friends’:
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s 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.”
Have you ever pondered what the characteristics are of people who become a friend of God? Why Abraham? Why Moses? Why the disciples? Scripture can shine a light on that for us. One such scripture is Psalm 25:14 NLT:
"The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. “
For those who are unbelievers, fear is linked to judgement for sin and an eternity in hell. However, for believers, ‘fear’ holds a different connotation. Hebrews 12:28-29 explains:
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.
Reverence and awe open up the way for friendship with God.
Another characteristic that opens the door to friendship with God is obedience to His will and desire for our lives. This means turning away from sin in whatever shape or form it manifests in our lives. James 4:4 reminds us:
“Don’t you realise that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.”
As a friend of Jesus, we begin to understand who God is, that He is holy, powerful, omniscient, generous and always righteous. We develop a reverential fear of Him. We want to obey Him.
As our knowledge of God grows it can actually be as though God grows before our spiritual eyes. He becomes bigger… much, much bigger! In reality, God hasn’t got bigger, we are just more able to see Him as He really is. What wonderful blessings He bestows upon His friends.
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. (John 15:26)
Reverence, awe and obedience are just three of the characteristics that you will aspire to if you want to have the privilege of being a friend of God.
“We, too, will have fellowship with the sublime if we know how to be perfectly obedient to the Word of the Lord.”
C H Spurgeon
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