Friend of God
Not long ago, I heard a song with the line, "I am a friend of God." It's an excellent and lively song, but I have to wonder just how much we know of what it is to be a "friend of God." Scripture tells us that God would speak to Moses "face to face, as to a friend." It also tells us that the result of these encounters for Moses was face, a countenance, that literally glowed with His glory. To be a friend of God, I think, is to be one whose very life and spirit glow with His Presence. In the end, everything else is just words.
In John 16:27, Jesus says, "The Father Himself loves you because you have loved Me and have believed I came from God." The love of God is so deep that there is no possible way for us to ever fully understand it or explore the depth of its riches. Sadly, too many of us never try to, and we end up taking it for granted, and never realizing the depth of power and blessing found in it. This particular scripture would be case in point, and I came upon an explanation of it that I'd not thought on before, causing me to understand that love a little more deeply, value it a little more completely.
Writer Chris Tiegreen, commenting on His love wrote, "God loves (agape') everyone in the world, but He has genuine, enthusiastic intimacy (phileo) with those who have affection for Jesus. It is not unconditional (like agape'). It is a very human kind of love, and God took on a very human form to have it with us." His love is so much more than emotion and feeling, but there is emotion and feeling involved, yet how many of us can truly say we feel any towards Him? Could it be that we have so little "feeling" involved in our love for Him because we have so little intimacy with Him? We're satisfied to know that He loves us unconditionally, and we're interested in all the benefits and blessings to be reaped because of it. We'll gladly become His sons and daughters, but we seem to have very little interest in being His friends. We're far more interested in finding out what He has in His hands for us, than we are in hearing what is in His heart towards us. We look to His hands, when He would have look to His face and heart. As Tiegreen points out, too often we love Him because "we ought to." Pleasure and enjoyment in Him is missing. We lack intimacy, and so, we lack vitality.
I heard a friend say recently that the only response the people of God can have in the midst of an ever darkening world is to shine more and more brightly with the Light that is the Life of Christ. This is the very same Light that shone on the face of Moses, the friend of God. It was, and is, His glory. This Light doesn't fight the darkness, it crushes it. The need of our day, of every day, is that we be such people, friends of God, who live so deeply in Him that we shine with His radiance. There will be those who shrink back, those who despise it, and some of "those" will be found in the church, but there will be none who will be able to extinguish it. Jesus said for us to "let our light so shine," but that light will come only from lives lived deeply in Him, from those who are truly His friends. The song line says, "I am a friend of God." Are we? Do we find pleasure and joy in Him? As we walk, do we walk in Him? Do we shine?