Friends of God

Intro

INTRODUCTION
The more quality time we spend with a friend, the better and deeper the relationship usually gets.  God refers to a several people as friends in the Bible and Jesus calls his followers his friends. Is it possible to have a deep friendship with the Creator? Find out here.

"God has made you his friends, in order to bring you, holy, pure, and faultless, into his presence." Col 1:22b
— Rezilient Life (@RezilientLife) May 6, 2013

Story

Maybe you consider God to be the ultimate authority figure. Many people do. But consider this short remembrance by Jerry Ousley and see how he moved from authority figure to friend.

When I was a kid I loved my Dad. He provided for his family and he worked hard. He was there despite difficult times. He was also there to correct us if we needed it (and I needed it a lot). I'll never forget the "thwep, thwep, thwep" sound of his belt pulling through the loops of his pants because that was his chosen method of punishment. He didn't beat us and he didn't abuse us with that belt. But it became his symbol of correction when we had done wrong. I don't think it hurt me any and in fact helped to mold my life to what it is today. As an adult I learned more about my Dad. He became my friend. For a while we worked at the same factory, rode to work together and ate lunch together. I got to know him a little better and our relationship went beyond father and son. That's what God wants to do with us. Yes we respect Him. Yes we worship Him. But He also wants to be more than a god, He wants to be our friend. (Friend of God by Jerry Ousley; 6/03/2010 / Christian Living)

Bible intro

There are many times in the Bible where God references someone as being his friend. This story is about an incident in Moses’ life while leading God’s people, Israel. See if you can catch where the view of God shifts from one of authoritarian to one of friend. Of course, none of us are Moses, but is it possible that God wants a friendship with us, and that’s why he tells us this story about his friend, Moses?  

Personal Questions
1. Why does Jesus decide to call you his friend? What is he asking for in return? Do you think this is worth it to be friends with Jesus?
2. How does someone become a friend to God? Is this ‘message’ about Christ something you’ve ever told another one of your friends?
3. What does a friendship with God look like? For you, what would be a benefit of a friendship with God?
4. Have you ever considered yourself to be an enemy of God? How does it feel to know that’s how God saw us? What changes that relationship from
enemy to friend? How does it feel to be called God’s friend?
Prayer

Try using the words from Psalm 25 as a ‘thank you’ to God for allowing us to know him as a committed, protecting friend: 4Teach me your ways, O LORD; make them known to me. 5Teach me to live according to your truth, for you are my God, who saves me. I always trust in you. 6Remember, O LORD, your kindness and constant love which you have shown from long ago. 7Forgive the sins and errors of my youth. In your constant love and goodness, remember me, LORD!

Map

BibleMap.com – locate the story of Moses in Exodus 33 to see where God would meet with him and talk as friends.http://www.biblemap.org/#Exodus_33

411

Luke, the writer of the third book in the New Testament, had a friend. He begins his Gospel by addressing it to this friend named Theophilus. He does this so that Theophilus will understand the truth about how to become a friend of God through Jesus Christ. In fact that is the meaning of his name, Theophilus, means "friend of God."

Stories

A Personal Warrior’s Code of Honor

As a combat veteran wounded in one of America’s wars, I offer to speak for those who cannot. Were the mouths of my fallen front-line friends not stopped with dust, they would testify that life revolves around honor. In war, it is understood that you give your word of honor to do your duty -- that is -- stand and fight instead of running away and deserting your friends. When you keep your word despite desperately desiring to flee the screaming hell all around, you earn honor. Earning honor under fire changes who you are. The blast furnace of battle burns away impurities encrusting your soul. The white-hot forge of combat hammers you into a hardened, purified warrior willing to die rather than break your word to friends -- your honor.

What this person sees as honor, Jesus seems to call ‘love.’ In John 15:13 he says that the greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them. Try writing a story or poem or song of a person who gives their life for another motivated by love that comes from having a friendship with Jesus.

Friends of God 1

Friends of God 2

Friends of God 3

Friends of God 4

Friends of God 5

Scripture

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 – a new relationship with God

John 15: 9-17 – Jesus calls us his friends

Psalm 25:12-14 – a prayer for guidance & protection

Romans 5:10 – A pathway for friendship with God

Video

Joan of Arc was a young French woman (1412-1431) who became a sincere friend of God, and it completely changed her world. She is considered St. Joan of Arc by Catholic believers because of her devout obedience, even to death. St. Joan was canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV. What emotions and reactions does this video draw out of you?

King of Heaven, the night is over. My jailers have worn themselves out with tormenting me, and have gone to sleep. And I should sleep-I could sleep safely now-but the bishop's questions come back to me over and over. What if I were wrong? How do I know that my visions were good? I stare wide awake at the dawn in the window and I cannot find an answer.-So many things they said were true. It is true that the king we crowned at Rheims is not wise nor just nor honest. It is true that his realm is not well governed. It is true that I am alone, that my friends have forgotten me, both the King and the nobles who fought beside me. There is no word from them, no offer of ransom. And I am doubly alone, for I have denied my visions, and they will come to me no more.-I believe my visions to be good. I know them to be good, but I do not know how to defend them. When I am brought into a court, and must prove what I believe, how can I prove that they are good and not evil?-Yes, and I ask myself whether I have been honest always, for when I went among men I acted a part. It was not only that I wore boy's clothes.-I stood as my brother stood and spoke heartily as he spoke, and put my challenges in the words he would have spoken. When I spoke with my own voice nobody listened, nobody heard me, yet, was it honest to assume ways that were not my own?-I know there's to be no answer. I can expect no answer now, after I have betrayed and denied my saints.-They will not burn me now because I admitted that I could not prove my voices good-and I submitted to the church. And now, when I am to live, when I have done what they say is right, I am more unhappy than when they said I was wrong, and must die.

Life Questions
1. How can you actively treasure your friendship with God? What could you do to enjoy your friendship with God more? When are you willing to try it?
2. What seems to be the connection between your friendship with Jesus and your friendships with other people? Consider how you could interact differently with a friend of yours as a result of being a friend with Jesus. Write down their name(s) and what you’ve decided to do.
3. Our own experience seems to tell us that the more quality time we spend with friends, the better and deeper our relationship usually gets. Texting, Twitter or Facebook work best with friendships sustained by extended conversations and face-to-face time. As you estimate how much time you spend with your friend Jesus, what changes are you ready to make to go deeper – face-to-face – with him?
Reflect

 

Look at this quote from Christine Pohl and Chris Heuertz:

Most of us understand friendship with God in a very individualistic way – a close, loving relationship between Jesus and me. Such a relationship is a priceless treasure of the Christian life. Yet there is more; friendship with Jesus is also bigger and more spacious. In drawing closer to Jesus, we discover that we cannot love him without loving others. Our friendship with Jesus does not become diluted as more people are included in God’s heart of love. The relationships are mutually reinforcing. Love is not a scarce commodity we need to ration in case we run out. God’s friendship is a gift available to anyone who is open to receiving it.

  • Has this been true in your experience?
  • Do you think of your friendship with Jesus more individually or communally (as a group of people being friends with Jesus)?
  • What might be the advantages to both?