|. . . if any hear my voice and open the door, I will come into their house and eat with them, and they will eat with me (Revelation 3:20)|
Jesus is giving us a hint at the kind of special relationship he ultimately wants with each of us. He wants us to to recognize his voice, open the door and invite him in. Once inside he is more than willing to sit down, enjoy a meal, and fellowship with us ONE TO ONE. How fantastic! Notice it does not say he will come to our residence, pound on the door to demand we let him in, then when inside start commanding we do certain things - or else. He comes to us in friendship with a desire to commune with his creation and to enjoy their presence. Our Savior also promised this intimate relationship with us while he was on the earth (John 14:22 - 23).
God and Jesus greatly want a close relationship with those who believe and love them. They wants to be our close personal friends! Those people throughout history who are friends of God are able to effectively interceded with him. A striking example of this is Abraham.
|And the LORD said, 'Shall I hide from Abraham the thing which I do (visit Sodom and Gomorrah to see how great is their sin) . . . For I KNOW HIM, that he will command his children and his house after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment' (Genesis 18:17, 19)|
The fact that we humans like and greatly enjoy friendships is evidence that God wants the same thing.
A TRUE friend
What are some of the attributes of a true, close friend? What must we do if we want such relationships in our lives?
Real friends forgive and forget
Be there in times of joy or sadness
Trust each other
Love each other
Go the extra mile
Forgiving and Forgetting
Our Creator constantly proves to us that He is our very best friend in this area.
But God commends His own love to us because, when we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, therefore, having been justified now by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (Romans 5)
How much does our Creator want a relationship with his creation? He was willing to pay the highest price possible - the life of Jesus, His only Son. This awesome sacrifice reconciles us to him and opens the door wide open to a relationship that will last forever. When we come under the shed blood of our Savior, that which we have done in sin are forgiven and washed away. The apostle Paul tells us, in no uncertain terms, what our relationship is with our Father when we are forgive.
Consequently, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who are not walking according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit; (Romans 8:1).
God forgives completely. There are no strings attached to His love and mercy. His forgiveness is so perfect and wonderful that there will come a time when our sins will be totally forgotten - FOREVER.
And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD;' for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,' says the LORD. 'For I will forgive their iniquity, and I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE' (Jeremiah 31:34)
A friend in time of trial and trouble
The book of Proverbs tells us what it means to be a friend regardless of the situation.
Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart; so does the sweetness of one’s friend by advice from the heart (Proverbs 27:9 - 10)
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity (17:17)
A man who has friends must show himself friendly, and there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (18:24)
One of the most well-known friendships in all the Bible - King David and Jonathan - was a friendship that endured in spite of the trouble that came their way. They were truly friends who stuck closer together than brothers. Their relationship was such that the Bible states the following.
"And it came to pass when he had finished speaking to Saul (his father, who hated David and wanted him dead), the soul of Jonathan was joined with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as he did his own soul." (1Samuel 18:1)
Upon learning of Jonathan's tragic death in the battle of Gilboa, David was inspired to write a touching song dedicated to his friend (2Samuel 1).
You and I have a friend in God. In time of need He is always there. He senses when things are wrong. He knows when trouble is near.
"'Am I a God Who is near,' says the LORD, 'and not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places so that I shall not see him?' says the LORD. 'Do I not fill the heavens and earth?' says the LORD." (Jeremiah 23:23-24).
I think that most of us can easily identify with this attribute of a best friend. We all need a true confidant -- someone to whom we can come and discuss our innermost problems. This is just the way God is with us. Remember in John 15 where Jesus says he now calls us friends? Read again a piece of this quote.
"No longer do I call you servants, because the servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends because I have made known to you all the things that I have heard from My Father."
Christ does not consider or call us mere servants for a reason. Servants are not privy to what his master is thinking and doing. Friends, however, know this from each other. ALL THINGS that Jesus hears from the Father He CONFIDES IN US! This speaks volumes concerning the kind of profound relationship that the Father and Son desire to have with us!
When we pray do we pour out our hearts to the Father and tell him things no one else knows? On the other hand, do we coldly recite a prayer that tells God next to nothing but demands he grants certain promises to you as if he needed to fulfill a contract agreement? Is our relationship with our Maker based on love and respect or Biblical facts and figures? The Bible admonishes us to draw close to him (James 4:8).
God must be allowed to enter that which is our personal life - to eat, walk, play and relax with us. Our heavenly Father and his beloved son desire that we know them even as they are known.
Friends that are true friends can find enjoyment just by being together. This is what Paul was discussing when he wrote to the Romans.
9. Let love be without hypocrisy, abhorring that which is evil and cleaving to that which is good. 10. Be kindly affectioned toward one another in brotherly love. Let each esteem the other more highly than himself. (Romans 12:9 - 10)
Notice once again how Paul put the type of love we are to have in his letter to Philippi.
2 I urge you, then, to make me completely happy by having the same thoughts, sharing the same love, and being one in soul and mind. (Philippians 2:2)
When sinful, backsliding ancient Israel found themselves in a great deal of trouble, it was God who cared for them and was compassionate. He hurt along with his children. Paul the apostle described how Jesus knows our temptations when he wrote the following.
For we have a great High Priest who has gone into the very presence of God - Jesus, the Son of God. 15 Our High Priest is not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses. On the contrary, we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin (Hebrews 4:14 - 15)
God has always related to the trials, tribulations and troubles of mankind. Our Savior willingly relinguished everything he had - power, glory, honor, life eternal with pain or care and so on. There was nothing more he could give. He truly gave it all.
"This is My commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15:12)
In closing, God and Jesus want us to have a close personal friendship with them and to love them as they love us. If we want to reach our height of spiritual maturity and love, then it behooves us to draw close to our Maker.