Is becoming a friend of God a presumptuous and unattainable desire? Can any of us really be a friend of God?
Well…Abraham was called God’s friend.
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. James 2:23
Abraham was the only one in scripture that God refers to as the Friend of God. So, does that mean he’s the only one who can be a friend of God?
Well, evidently others can be God’s friends as well, for Jesus says to his disciples—
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth 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 15:14-15
So, it must be possible to be a friend of God! How amazing is that? To be close enough to the God of all heaven and earth, the Creator God, that your relationship could be called friendship!
We sing the hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus. All our sins and griefs to bear.” And He is indeed our “friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24) Our Friend at all times.
But would God consider me His friend? After all, friendship must be a two-way street.
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
But what can I give or do for God that would show my friendship towards Him? And cause God to view me as His friend? What does God look for in His friends?
How can I become a friend of God?
As I read about Abraham this week the Lord caused me to notice some things about how Abraham related to God that I believe will help us know how we, too, can become God’s friends.
- Abraham felt and demonstrated reverence for God.
When God appeared to Abram when he was 99 years old, “Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him.” (Genesis 17:3)
Abram had a proper fear and reverence and respect for God. In each encounter with God, Abram “fell upon his face” before God or “bowed himself toward the ground.” (Genesis 17:17, 18:2)
By Abram’s example, to be God’s friend we must first know God and respect Him for Who He is…the Almighty God.
No one of us considers someone a friend who disrespects or disregards who we are as a person. Neither can we expect God to do so with us.
- Abraham believed God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6
Relationships are built on trust. No one wants a friend that they cannot trust. Neither would they want as a friend someone they couldn’t depend on to believe them.
Abraham pleased God when He believed His promises. (See James 2:23 above.)
In our reading this week Abraham demonstrated his belief in God’s promise when he obeyed God’s covenant of circumcision without waiting to see if God would fulfill His promise of another son, Isaac.
- Abraham obeyed God.
Friendship with God requires that we not only recognize Him as God…but also God of our lives…that we obey Him. As the friend of God, Abraham obeyed God even when it hurt him and his beloved firstborn son physically. And he obeyed immediately.
Gen 17:23 And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.
We, too, can be God’s friend by obeying His commands.
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. John 15:14
A good friend is one who cares to know our likes and dislikes and seeks to enjoy with us some of those likes. God’s commands tell us just what God likes and what He dislikes. If we would be His friend, then it only makes sense that we would seek to do those things that would please our Friend.
- Abraham talked with God.
What relationship or friendship can exist without regular communication? It is amazing to me how many times the Lord appears to and talks with Abraham in his lifetime.
Abraham was so comfortable with talking to God and having God talk with him that he took it upon himself to even bargain with God for the lives of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Genesis 18:23
Abraham not only talked to God, but also listened to Him. We all want friends who will listen when we want to share our lives with them. God wants us to listen to Him, too. And we show God that we are listening when we follow His guiding for our lives.
- Abraham wasn’t perfect.
It is easy to think of people in scripture as just characters in a book. But they were real people who lived real lives…just like we do. Many of them we put on a pedestal and think that they were super holy and perfect people. But none were sinless.
Even Abraham…the Friend of God.
Abraham believed God, yet his faith wavered at times. (Genesis 12:10-13,16:2-4)
God’s friends are just imperfect people who love Him by striving to keep His commandments, and who seek His forgiveness when they fail.
So…Am I / Are you…a friend of God? Let’s take a test—
Do you have a proper fear of God? Or do you convince yourself that the things of God (what pleases Him) are optional and don’t really matter?
Do you believe His Word, His promises? Or do you see them as trite platitudes when God tries, through those who care about you, to speak them to you in times of heartache and need?
Do you not only pray and talk to God, but also listen to Him and seek to obey? And when you fail, do you seek forgiveness and then keep on striving to know and love God?
Abraham truly had a special relationship with God. But, so can we!
Keep trying to be a friend to God, and He will consider you a friend of God.
Drawing nigh to Him,
What makes friendship special to you? How can you apply that principle to your relationship/friendship with God?
If God treated you the way you treat Him, would you want a friendship with Him?