“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
Gods gift of friendship, is my personal favorite gift. Grace and spiritual gifts are extremely important and my gratitude for them is not lesser than what I think is appropriate. But I see grace and other gifts as Gods means to make friendship with Him possible. The perfect world of Eden was a place where God was a friend to humanity. Salvation is here now and we have the ability to partake in friendship with God right here (on earth) right now (this very second) once again.
When I step back for a second and really examine what it means to be a friend of God, I see how blessed I truly am. There is no friendship closer or more enjoyable than the friendship we can have with God. To make this reality more tangible, I’m going to present the five gifts of Gods friendship (any good friendship should have these).
The first is protection. When you have a real friend they become someone worth guarding. Psalms 91:2 “I will say to the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God I will trust.” God protects his friends just as he protected his friend David. And he is trust worthy to protect us in every storm. I am here as a product of Gods protection, preserving my weak faith, so that I might survive faith crushing trials.
The second is his nourishment. Jesus was compassionate to the needs of his disciples. He fed them physically, mentally, and spiritually. We watch him pour out wine and pass out bread to represent his nourishment for our souls. He also spoke of how He would clothe us and feed us even when we don’t have the ability to provide for ourselves. Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” The answer surly is that we are, and he is faithful to nourish us. When I dropped out of college I had fears of how I would ever provide for myself, let alone a family if I ever had my own. But God gave me this verse and has been true to His promise. I have had shelter, food, and clothing ever since I left.
The third is rest. Friends should bring rest to our souls, something is off if our friends cause us to be uneasy. God is a friend of rest, even in the season of war. Read Psalms 23, which is famous for comforting and giving rest to the soul of the uneasy believer. Or look at the example of the apostles resting in the Lord while imprisoned in Acts 12:6 or Acts 16:25. Many times I have been found in a similar rest that is contrary to what is natural, but it is of God, and God alone. His peace surpasses all understanding, even my own.
The fourth is dignity. Jesus redeemed us. We were all once harlots who had left our true love to prostitute ourselves among worldly things. But Jesus came and bought us back; he paid the ultimate price so that He could offer us Himself as a covering. To take away the shame we received and have covered with clothing ever since. Ephesians 4:24 “And put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” God sees us as clean new creations, blameless with out shame, this is where we find our peace. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I know that I am redeemed, and that I have dignity and security in Christ. He is where I get my purity, and my value.
The fifth is presence. Immanuel, God with us. He always has been and He always will be. In every minute and in situation God is present. Psalms 34:17-18 “the righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of their troubles. The Lord is near those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” David knew the Lord was with him, almost as if he had seen Him. Jesus even tells us about how close to use He will be in His Spirit. John 14:16 “and I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.” God is the only friend that is always with you. He is the only friend that will always grow in His friendship with you form now until the end of eternity. I am blessed with some amazing friends here on earth, but even the best of my friendships have failed in these five gifts, the most common is presence. (Mostly because I keep moving, not there fault.) But God literally does not have the ability to leave me, no matter how far I travel. He is in me and I in Him.
(Finishing thoughts, deep breath)
These five gifts are made perfect in God, but are still good for the use of simple people like us. I would have gone much deeper into the details of these gifts if I had more time to write. So feel free to carry this IBS into conversation.
God thank you for your friendship, writing this has reminded me how awesome You are. And I love looking up at this massive all-powerful friend I have who gifts to me His all. Once more thank You.