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My Friend - A Devotion

My Friend
My Friend
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Romans 5:9-11 (NLT)
And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

According to Facebook, I have 650 friends. But the truth is that of these so-called friends, there are few who really meet the requirements of friendship and are merely acquaintances. These are casual encounters with other people frivolous in nature when compared to the meaning of true friendship. When they are happy, I can give them a virtual high five. When discouraged, I can send them some words of encouragement without ever leaving the comfort of my home. But when I need a friend, a true friend, someone attached by feelings of affection and personal regard who I know well and that knows me too, there is little consolation in the people on my friend list. Although there is safety in numbers, there is true revelation in the intimacy of a relationship. This is probably the reason we embrace social media. It satisfies our desire for interaction but it seldom meets our need for intimacy. True intimacy is a personal relationship. It is a close, familiar, affectionate and loving personal relationship that drives us from our personal comfort zone to interact on a deeper level with another person. The relationship that establishes our friendship with God is called righteousness. We were at odds with God until Jesus Chris reestablished this union allowing us access to His Love and Favor once again. These are the benefits of living in covenant relationship as friends. Is God your friend today? He is most definitely your Creator and Father. The Lord is your redeemer, healer and deliverer based solely on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His Grace opened the door that sin once slammed shut keeping us from living in the Presence of Almighty God but friendship comes with a price. It requires something of us more than making a “friend request” and only those who are willing to embrace their brand new relationship with the Lord and pursue such intimacy will every move from just righteousness into friendship with God!

Romans 5:18-19 (NLT)
Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.

Jesus Christ restored our relationship with God. You can do nothing more to become right with God than accept Jesus Christ allowing His Blood to seal our relationship to God once more. But those who decide to accept the brand new life offered by Christ cannot ignore their relationship to God and expect to continue to live in His Favor. Everything you need, want and desire is provided according to His Riches in Glory as we reestablish a higher standard of living as is offered in His Presence. Last summer, I attended a conference for work. During our visit, I posted several pictures of the beautiful resort where we stayed in the Florida Keys. One of my Facebook friends who I was in my high school youth group noticed them. She had come to the conference with a friend so we decided to find each other at the event hosted that evening. When she came to the booth I was working, I recognized her instantly despite not seeing her for more than 30 years. But as we began to talk, it was a bit awkward as over time we had traveled in very different directions. We soon parted ways and have not seen each other sense. Time has a way of doing that as it carries us through life. Friendship should be forever as it is a covenant relationship designed by God. He places a high importance on righteousness but if there is no relationship than it is less than perfect. Don’t get religious! You know what I mean. If we strive daily to do the right thing, say the right words and be the right person – we have stepped out of the parameters of His Grace into self-sufficiency. Friendship is dependency on another. There is loyalty naturally implied that is only qualified by intimacy. If you do spend any time with the Lord, how will He ever become your friend?

John 15:14-16 (NLT)
You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.

Friendship is our profound privilege that is given as a choice. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior many, many years ago. He chose me long before that. It has only been the last fifteen years that I have pursued a full-on relationship with the Lord. About five years ago, I decided to offer all that I am to have all that He is. Loyalty and devotion grow with intimacy as we make an effort to deepen the bond through faithfulness in our relationships. But it is more than an intention in our heart and mind, it must be backed up in our actions. Faith without works is dead. Friendship without intentional intimacy that makes us pursue more of God’s Presence will not create a lasting relationship with the Lord either. When Jesus chose us, He offered us His Spirit. This is the holy inhabitation that links us to God as His Children. Acceptance of Christ is to accept His Righteousness and step out of the darkness to live in the Light of His Love. In that moment, we are given His Spirit which is consummation of this relationship. But after the honeymoon is over and real life begins, it is in that moment that relationships require energy and effort. I have been married for fifteen years to the man that God created for me. He is my soul mate. I am completely content in our relationship. However if I ignore my responsibilities as a wife and choose not to honor him at work, play or even church, then our relationship will become distant. I must strive to maintain intimacy with my husband. I have learned how to relate to him the way that he wants not always the way that I want. There is a yielding that must take place for relationships to grow, prosper and mature. A little bit of me had to die to self to make more room for my relationship with him. And so it is so with our relationship to God! To have a successful friendship with the Lord, I must submit my way to live His Way. Love allows me to do that freely without a sense of lost. There is no greater travesty than a sinner set free from the slavery of sin who never leaves its bondage to walk in the Light of His Love as a friend of God. He has given us His Name so we can have victory in every situation and triumph in every trial. The Lord is asking you today, “Will you be my friend?”

John 15:12-14 (NLT)
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.

Friendship requires a sacrifice. The sacrifice is our life. You will never experience true friendship with every Facebook friend and Twitter follower that you have. It is not possible because there is not enough of you to go around. Jesus Christ demonstrated true friendship when He laid down His Life for His Friends. This began before the Cross when He set aside His Crown to come to the earth and meet us right where we are. He didn’t require more of us but all of Himself to fulfill His Commitment to His Friends. God offers friendship to the godly. (Proverbs 3:32) Jesus Christ made you godly so God immediately offers you friendship in this place. A friend is always loyal. (Proverbs 17:17) If righteousness comes through Jesus Christ not anything that we do, we can accept righteousness without obligation because it has been paid in full and we own it. If righteousness establishes godliness, then we become godly when we ask Jesus to be our Savior and Lord. It is in that very moment that God wants to reestablish an intimate relationship with you! God desires a face-to-face encounter with you each and every day. This is how His Glory permeates your life. (Exodus 33:10-11) Such a relationship creates longing so that if we wander or fall short, we desire to find our way back into His Presence. God’s Favor is found when we desire Him more than anything else. (Job 29:1-6) It is challenged when we want His Favor more than His Friendship. Things will never satisfy our soul. But as our soul prospers, so do we. (3 John 1:2) Love prospers when a fault is forgiven…but dwelling on it separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9) The sufficiency of His Grace allows us to accept the remission of sin and live in a restored relationship with God. Friendship with God requires forgiving ourselves for never having “enough” to offer the Lord and accepting the fact that His Grace is enough. Friends are faithful and do not abandon one another. (Proverbs 27:10) Those who consider God to be their friend will seek His Counsel just as we do others when making important choices. True friendship with the Lord will cause us to seek His Word on the matter first. (Proverbs 27:10) The Lord shares His Secrets with His Friends. (Psalm 25:14) He leads us with unfailing love and faithfulness but how will you ever know this if you do not follow the Lord. (Psalm 25:9-10) It begins when we place the highest priority on becoming God’s Friend.

James 2:21-24 (NLT)
Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.

Friendship comes with expectations and requirements. During our premarital counseling, it became evident that my husband and I placed our highest priority on faithfulness. We demonstrated a “zero tolerance” for infidelity. Trust was an issue. Over the years, we have grown in our friendship and trust of one another so we do not focus on what could potentially separate us but thrive on the love we have found and living in the harmony it has produced. It is a change of direction. We met and married within six months. There was not a great deal of time to share our entire life story so we dove in headfirst. Now after all of these years, I see how as we have grown in our walk with the Lord that we have grown together despite our imperfection and selfishness. I stand on the idea that successful marriage is impossible without God as a partner. Seriously, it is hard work to remain faithful and loyal when our spouses are less than lovable. It is difficult to give up our way especially when we are sold on it. There are times when I must humble myself and submit even when I know that I am right in order to maintain our relationship and trust the Lord to change my husband’s mind leading us in the right direction. The success of our marriage is glory to God in the highest. I put my faith in God to satisfy my soul, perfect that which concerns me and make good out of every detail so I can place proper expectations on all other relationships in my life. God is my friend. Jesus is my constant companion. The Holy Spirit is my confidant. I can live in harmony with the rest of the people in my life because He is faithful eliminating my dependency on anyone else. Faith is what God requires to be friends. Not faith in anyone or anything other than Jesus Christ. This makes us right so we can walk away from the world and live in the Light of His Amazing Love. (James 4:4-5) Nothing can ever separate us from that love so we are secure to pour out our love on others and still have enough to even share with our enemies. When we believe in the Unfailing Love of God and His Overwhelming Faithfulness – it is like iron sharpening iron. (Proverbs 27:17) Although it sometimes rubs us the wrong way, the Lord will be our friend. What does God want from you? He wants to be your friend. Jesus didn’t die to form an acquaintance but to develop intimacy with His People. We do not have to be faithful just continue to live confident in God’s Ability to be faithful. As we invest the measure of faith given to us by the Lord, it will grow, prosper and mature into a thriving relationship with the Lord. His Spirit gives us love, joy, peace and so much more. As I look over my “friend’s list”, I must always make sure that the Lord is at the top of the list. I must spend time talking to Him. I must live in His Presence. I must give Him my heart (all of it) so that He can make me whole. Falling in love with Jesus is not coincidental but an intentional choice to become a friend of God.

Revelation 3:20-21 (NLT)
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.”