Saturday, March 20, 2010

Best Friend?

      When we were kids each of us wanted a best friend — someone to walk with you down the sidewalk, stand up for you when others were around, talk with you on the phone.
         When we got older best friends got scarce. Everyone was busy, and somehow there wasn’t time for that special kind of friendship.
          If you’d ask, most people would say there is no best friend anymore. No one to link arms with and cut through the field, no one to share secrets, no one who spends time with you, just for the fun of it.
          In these troubling times what we need is a best friend. Some one who really cares.

          Remember the song that says, “What a friend we have in Jesus”? Maybe we ought to consider Him.
What’s a best friend like?
          A best friend knows everything. He talks to you; he listens to you. He stands up for you. He cares. He is strong, loyal, and has all those other qualities you admire.
          The same, and more, is true about God. He knows all about us. He is the ultimate in love and in strength.
          “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward Him. . . ” II Chronicles 16:9
          Jesus would make a great Best Friend. He excels in everything that’s good.
          Jesus said, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” John 15:15

Is it actually possible?
          Is it actually possible to be a friend of God? Adam was. In Genesis 2 and 3 we read that God walked and talked with Adam in the Garden in the cool of the day.
          Abraham was. “And the scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.” James 2:23
          Moses was. “And the LORD spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. . . ” Exodus 33:11
          Others, throughout the years, have walked and talked with God as friends.
          To some, it might sound almost sacrilegious. They prefer to think of God as high and holy. He is. But He also reaches out to us. He involved Himself in the world to take care of the sin problem so we could be forgiven, enter into His presence, and have fellowship with Him.

How can we get to be best friends?
          It’s easy, yet it is profound. A child can do it; there’s no age limit for friendship with God. Imagine that!
          1. Invite Him.
          2. Talk to Him. A lot.
          3. Be available for Him. He is always available to you.
          4. Listen to what He says. And do it.

Here’s the problem.
          Most people find it fairly easy to invite Jesus into their life as Savior. Getting forgiven of all your sins and going to Heaven is a lot better than the alternative, which is living selfishly and then automatically going to Judgment.
          After that they’d just as soon leave “religion” for Sunday, or maybe just for Christmas and Easter. They’d like an easy, impersonal kind of relationship with God.
        The problem is to be friends with Jesus would mean making some changes in life.  Jesus has something for us to do. Here is where friendship is defined. If we are going to be friends with God we must obey Him.
          This friendship implies that we can hear and know what He is saying to us. Not in theory or in rare instances. Know, as in learn in an on-going, real life way.

What will friendship with Him be like?
          Picture this. Wake up in the morning and say, “Good morning, Lord. I’m glad You are going to be with me every minute of this day. You and I, together, facing the day.”
          As the day goes on you take courage, knowing He is giving you wisdom and strength. You treat people — and yourself — differently because He sees and knows what you are doing and saying.
          Someone is hurting and you speak up. Someone is confused and you speak up. Someone is asking for help and you speak up.
          Instead of worrying or ignoring problems you take them, head on. You command the winds and the waves to be still. You command disease to leave people. You walk in confidence.
          What? Yes, your Best Friend teaches you how to do all sorts of exciting, wonderful things as you “keep His commandments.”
          At the end of the day you get ready for bed. You read His Word; you talk to Him again. Not exactly what you used to consider “bedtime prayer” but an authentic conversation.
          Imagine that!

Will He really talk to us?
          Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:” John 10:27
          He also said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in Me.” John 15:4
          Many times He said, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.” Hearing is important!

What does He tell us to do?
        A lot of people would answer like this: Go to church without complaining, give every time the basket is passed, don’t swear, and don’t cheat anybody.
          Following Jesus is not just keeping a bunch of rules. It’s not do-it-yourself stuff, either.
          Read the Gospels again and ask His Holy Spirit to interpret, teach, and help you learn, know, and understand what He has for you. It will be personal; it will be powerful.
        Jesus said, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26
          We are commanded to “. . be filled with the Spirit;” Ephesians 5: 18
         “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” I Corinthians 6:19
          Expect great things. “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Acts 4:31

Can I really do it?
          As He prompts you, talk to Him all through the day and night. He is there! As you get used to acknowledging His presence and talking to Him it will become a way of life.
          Ask for what you need. Claim the promises He has given. Take of His bountiful supply.
          Thank Him when He shows you where you have failed. Ask for more wisdom and courage.

What difference will it make?
          Having this remarkable relationship with God will have almost unbelievable effect in your life and through you, to others.
           “ . . . the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” Daniel 11:32
        Elisha saw what God did through Elijah. “He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, 'Where [is] the LORD God of Elijah?' and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.” II Kings 2:14
           “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain.” James 5:16-18
        “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants, the prophets.” Amos 3:7

Now, you know.
           No evading the issue. Friendship with Jesus is the big issue. Now that you know He wants this real, full-time, all-day relationship with you the decision is yours. Do you want Him?
           There’s no turning back now. If you’ve read this far the Holy Spirit will speak to you in the quiet of your heart, if you choose to let Him.
           Jesus said, “You are My friends, if you do whatsoever I command you.” John 15:14
          What an amazing thing: to be friends with our Lord Jesus who intercedes before the throne of God and friends with His Holy Spirit who lives right here, inside of us.
        It’s too good to pass up. It’s the only satisfying friendship there is. He wants to be our Best Friend.                     * * *

by Elaine Hardt © 1998