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Is it possible to know God intimately as a friend? If so, how can I develop this intimate relationship with Him?
“No longer do I call you servants,
Jesus speaks of a change which is about to take place in His relationship with His disciples. He will no longer deal with them as His servants but rather as His friends.
for the servant does not know what his master is doing;
but I have called you friends,
for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you …”
Who is a friend? A “friend” is one who shares with you his secrets, his deepest feelings and thoughts as well as his reasons for doing things. Jesus will be treating His disciples as friends … intimate friends with whom He will share all that He has heard from God the Father ... the secrets of the kingdom of God (Luke 8:10).
What are these secrets? What are all that Jesus had heard from the Father? What is the mystery of God?
The mystery of God is all about Christ (Col. 2:1-3), and the salvation which He would accomplish on the cross of Calvary (i.e., the gospel, see Eph. 6:18-19) for all men ... both Jews and Gentiles. These things were spoken of in the Old Testament, even though they were not fully understood. This mystery which was hidden for ages and generations is now revealed to all the saints (Col. 1:25-28). What was utterly new and unexpected was that Gentiles would be reconciled to God as fellow heirs with Jews and as members of the same body (Eph. 3:6). No one expected the birth of the church ... the union of Jews and Gentiles in Christ (Eph. 1:7-10).
We were once enemies of God but He has initiated reconciliation. His first step was to send His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us (Eph. 2:13; Rom. 5:8-10). And if you believe in Him, He now treats you as his friend ... telling you His secrets. All these secrets are in the Bible, the Word of God. In it, He reveals His character, His ways ... thoughts, speech and actions ... what He values and loves and what He hates. The ball is now in our court.
- Do you know God? Do you know Him (not just know about Him)? Do you have a relationship with Him? If not, you can begin by believing in Him (John 1:12). When you believe in Him, you become more than a friend ... you become a child of God.
- Do you desire to know God more? Do you seek God with all your heart (Jer. 29:13; Psa. 42:1; 63:1; Heb. 11:6)? If yes, how is that desire evidenced?
- God has revealed His heart in the Word of God. Do you seek to know God and His heartbeat by reading the Bible? Friendship does not happen overnight. It is developed intentionally and gradually as two parties spend time together ... listening and talking with one another. Do you read the Bible regularly and listen to God?
- As you read the Bible, do you seek to obey? If we love God, we would obey His commands. It is in our obedience that God discloses Himself to us (John 14:21; 15:14).
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them,
he it is who loves me.
And he who loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
- Someone asked, “Other than reading the Bible, how else can I know God better?”
Well, how do we get to know anyone more intimately? Building a relationship requires time spent together, time to share (talk and listen) and finally, love, trust and mutual respect.
Developing an intimate relationship with God is similar. It requires you to ...
- spend time with God,
- listen to Him (read the Word of God),
- talk to Him (pray ... tell God your deepest feelings and thoughts)
- love (obey God’s Word)
- trust, regardless of your feelings (Jer. 17:7-8) and
- respect (revere the Almighty God).
- Do you treat God as a friend ... telling Him your deepest feelings and thoughts? But remember God is no ordinary friend; He is the holy LORD God Almighty who created the heavens and the earth. You must approach this Friend with reverence and awe (Psa. 25:14; Heb. 12:28-29; 1 Tim. 6:16).
- When we talk about intimacy with God, we often speak of a feeling of closeness with Him. If all we seek is a continual emotional assurance that He is our Friend then we are barking up the wrong tree. A desire to know God must be our motive for intimacy ... to enjoy His companionship ... to fellowship with Him. Intimacy is the quiet assurance that God loves me even when my feelings and circumstances say otherwise. The feeling of closeness is a consequence, a by-product of spending time with God.
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