Many people will find it a great honour to have tea with a person of great stature such as the President or Prime Minister of their country. Indeed, many of you may have had the privilege of doing so from time to time, year after year. But, what if you have the privilege of having breakfast (by the Sea of Galilee would be nice) with the King of kings and the Lord of lords every day? Lunch and dinner are do-able, too.
On 11 August 2006, my cell group leader shared that it is a privilege to be in relationship with God and that serving God is a privilege. Upon reflection, it hit me that we must never take our relationship with God for granted. The danger is that we tend to lose what we do not value.
Once we were part of the crowd, searching for purpose and meaning in life. As the following song puts it:
One day I was wandering, what’s it all about
Life is full of heartbreak, restlessness and doubt
Then a gentle stranger whispered words of love
Pointed me to heaven, wrote my name above
I know where I’m going, and who I’m gonna see
I have a Friend named JESUS, waiting there for me
He has given me something that only He could give
He gave His life in payment so that I could live
JESUS is no longer a stranger to us now, but has become our Saviour and LORD. We began our walk with Him as follower amongst the crowd of new believers, moved on to become a disciple (disciplined, consistent and faithful follower), and, as we keep walking with Him, we can experience Him as a Friend (think of Abraham, Enoch and Moses).
For sure, God anoints us for roles such as shepherd, under-shepherd, king, priest, and prophet. Yet, God desires that we do not neglect spending time with Him in intimate fellowship so that He can impart His secret things (great and wondrous truths from His word) through the Holy Spirit, our Helper. Just as we share our secrets (aspirations, dreams, visions, etc.) with our close friends, God will do the same with us when we cultivate a close fellowship with Him.
And, we can become a friend of God when we choose to obey His word and the Holy Spirit. God is not a dictator who insists that we must obey Him. The truth is that God, our Creator, knows what is best for us and everything that He desires of us is actually for our own benefits, first of all. When He sees us arranging our lives under His principles, He rejoices over us because His blessing will be ours to receive. Remember, Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10b; NKJV)”
In Jeremiah 7:23 (NLT), God said to the Israelites, “Obey Me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!” What a privilege it is when God is for us! The choice is ours to make by deliberate acts of obedience to His word. Hear then the words of JESUS: “You are my friends if you do whatever I command you. 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. (John 15:14, 15; NKJV)” What an awesome privilege it is to be a friend of JESUS!
Have we failed our Friend, Jesus, or grieved His Holy Spirit, our Helper? Repent, come back to embrace His good, acceptable, and perfect will for us. As Jesus asked Peter, He may well asks us, too, “Do you love Me?” Jesus could see that despite Peter’s failings, he (Peter) loves Him in his heart of hearts. Let’s love (agape) Jesus at all times, and He will guide and lead us towards His plan and purpose for us through the times and seasons of our life.
“Thank you, JESUS, for being our Friend. You are the best friend we can ever have. Help us to nurture our friendship with you, day after day. Amen.”