Am I a friend of God?
“Inside the tent of meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” Exodus 33:11
“Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God?” James 4:4
I found these verses so interesting in the context of the preaching series Pastor Chris has been doing on covenant and kingdom. He has been helping us to understand the beautiful way that our relationship with God and our responsibility and authority to act on His behalf are woven together in perfect DNA-like strands. One cannot stand without the other. Similarly, we can’t be a “friend of God” and a “friend of the world” at the same time.
That is a bit unsettling because after all, we are living in the world that God has created and we have to figure out a way to navigate through it.
Our covenant relationship with God provides for us a new identity. We take on new names with our salvation and that is sure and a forever thing. Simply by believing in God, we enter into that covenant, that relationship, that friendship. And just like our relationships with our earthly friends, we can be good friends–attentive, caring, serving, loving, forgiving. Or, we can be lousy friends–going long periods without contact, not caring, failing to serve or attend to the needs we see.
If we only have a covenant relationship with God, a friendship, that’s only half of the story. We are missing out then on the responsibility that God has given to His children to act on His behalf to serve a broken and hurting world. God has chosen to express His authority through us–imperfect people in an imperfect world.
From our covenant relationship with God that comes with our salvation, we also have a kingdom responsibility. That becomes clearer as our “friendship” with God grows and deepens. When we spend time with our earthly friends we can’t help but be moved by what hurts them. We can’t help but take action to serve them and love them. So it is with our friendship, our relationship with God. When we spend time with God–in prayer or in His Word, we can’t help but be moved by the needs in this world. And just as He has entered into a covenant with us, He has given us the authority and the power to act on His behalf to right the wrongs we see around us.
So how do we maintain a friendship with God, serving the world but not being seduced by it? We start by intentional closeness with God. Drawing near to Him daily, acting out our authority and power that comes from the King of Kings, but guarding our minds and hearts by immersion in His Word. We demonstrate forgiveness and mercy as we serve and as we love, seeking justice for those without power.
Relationship and responsibility. Woven together, they are God’s plan for us all.