The Lord Jesus Christ is many things to His precious people. He is Creator, Sustainer, Master, Mediator, Messiah, Lord, Light, Life, Protector, Advocate, Rock, Redeemer, Savior, Shield, Bridegroom, Brother, and Friend.
Friend? The King of kings and Lord of lords is our friend? Yes, and not just our friend, but our Best Friend! Jesus said to His disciples:
“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.” (John 15:15)
In the times of the Old Testament, only a very special few had the privilege of being designated as friends of God. Scripture describes both Abraham (James 2:23) and Moses (Exodus 33:11) as “friends of God.” The Lord referred to David as “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22).
But all that changed through the cross work of Christ. When the veil in the holy temple was torn from top to bottom on Good Friday, everything about our access to God changed! Direct and immediate access to God was available once again, just as it was for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We no longer need a priest to approach the throne of God on our behalf. We may now “approach the throne of grace with confidence,” as Hebrews 4:16 assures us, “so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
In John 15:15, the Greek word used for friend is much deeper than our general understanding of the word friend today. Jesus was not talking about a casual, “Hey, how-ya-doin?” relationship, but rather a deeply intimate covenant friendship that is marked by unconditional love, unwavering devotion, and total trust.
One of the best ways to demonstrate that we are pursuing this kind of intimate relationship with Jesus is by the amount of time we spend with Him. Is He simply an item on your “things-to-do” list, to be checked off each day? Or is He sitting atop the throne of your life as your highest priority?
To be sure, Jesus wants us to have a daily time of devotion with Him, but that is only the beginning. He wants all of us! He wants to be invited into every aspect of our lives, into every corner of our thoughts. He wants us to be focused on Him when we rise up and when we lie down, when we walk along the way and when we sit down to rest.
In his marvelous little book, Practicing the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence, a 17th-century monk who worked as a cook in a French monastery, provided great insight into turning the most commonplace and menial tasks into acts of worship, praise, and communion with God. Friendship with God for Brother Lawrence was not about what he was doing for God, but what he was doing with God and the attitude of thanksgiving that he brought to everything he did.
Please don’t think I am telling you to get away from your daily “quiet time” to get with God. It is good to carve out a specific portion of each day to spend concentrated time with our Lord, but remember that this is only the starting line, not the entire race! When we practice the presence of God in all our daily routines, we will develop a friendship with Jesus that will surpass all others!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!