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Befriending With God

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

“And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness, And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”

James 2:23-24 (NKJV)

One of the highest compliments credited to Abraham is the title, “the father of faith”. But, there’s one other compliment, if not equally, perhaps it is even a greater accolade, which is “the friend of God.” Several times in the Bible it is recorded. For example, in 2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, and the one it is alluded earlier – James 2:23. No doubt that this title refers to Abraham’s whole life, not just periodically. There is one other reference that does not specifically used the word “friend of God”, but still portrays the depth of God’s heart toward Abraham. Let’s look up: Gen 18:17-19:

“Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham, will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what He has promised him.”

Pay attention to the verse 19, the phrase: “I have chosen him”. This phrase can literally be translated as, “For I have known him” (NKJV). God had an intimate (breadth and depth) knowledge of Abraham’s soul, mind and character. As if He said, “I know him well. I could trust him. Because he is my friend!”. And in this specific context of scripture, God actually visited Abraham to tell Him his plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. He shared His “intimate secret” with Him, so to speak. Wow, imagine! What a true friendship!

The significance of the word “friend”, let alone “true friend”, has been eroded in our 21st Century’s mindset. It is getting harder to have friends that are “closer than a brother” (Prov 18:24), who knows our intimate secrets and deepest concerns. We are lucky today if we have a few … or even just one person. But, in the era of antiquity the term “friend” had a very deep meaning. Jesus Himself expressed it, in John 15:13-15, “I have called you friends”. And the privilege of being God’s friend and Jesus’ friend is very obvious: an intimate friendship. A harmonious relationship. “for everything that I have learned from My father I have made known to you.” (v.15)

Brothers/sisters in the Lord, don’t we want to be called a friend of God? Someone whom He pours out His heart to and tell His secret to? Pause here. Imagine. The Elohim Yahweh - the Sovereign God of Universe. Jesus Christ - The King of Kings and Lord of Lords, making His heart known to … you. We should see this thing as the highest honor and accomplishment someone could ever achieve. We could not see this value, unless our mind is renewed toward the “things above”.

We often hear words of admonition: “Be strong and courageous! Have peace! Fear not! Rejoice! But unfortunately lacking of the emphasis or reinforcement on practically “how” to secure those experiences. The answer lies in our friendship with God. When we truly are intimate and harmonious with God, we can experience “peace that transcends understanding” (Phil 4:7) or the confidence on standing on the solid rock (Psalm 18:2).

Let’s pay attention! there’s a condition to achieve such a privilege of being a friend of God. In v.23. it says, “Abraham believed God”. Here, Believe, is not merely “intellectual knowledge” nor “verbal confession”. But “actual obedience”. The clearest definition of “believing” is through what Jesus said about friendship (John 15:14), “You are My friend, if you do what I command you”. That statement equals “believing”. It equals “faith”. When we understand faith in this term, we will then have the peace, the joy, the comfort, the meaning, the safety, and the confidence we need, especially at the most difficult and uncertain time we are experiencing today.

Look! God protected not only Abraham before the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah. But, He included his relatives - Lot and his family. Sometimes, it is not always possible nor practical to mention those whom we love by names one by one in our prayers. But, we can have the inner confidence, by loving the Lord purely and sincerely, the Lord will also take care those special people that are in our heart. By remaining in that intimate and harmonious relationship with God, through the attitude and act of obedience, God of mercy and compassion will also envelope and protect those we love.

No greater security and accomplishment than being a friend of God! Let’s strive for this! AMEN!

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