Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Section 2: Spiritual Dynamics: God's Friendship

The Higher Purpose Of Faith

 God's plan to elevate the human circumstance involves a beautifully sophisticated process. But, in its basic aspects, the process of God’s help remains very simple – though we often try to make it otherwise. 

            Nevertheless, in what follows, you’ll see this life-changing process presented in the clearest terms. And this knowledge is, indeed, valuable as it can produce a priceless result: a vital personal friendship with Almighty God - and from that friendship, an entirely new and empowered you. 

On Friendships

            But, there are friendships, and then, there are friendships. Obviously, some friendships are all that you would hope for them to be. But, there are also friendships which are hardly worth it.

            For example, some friendships are very high maintenance with very little pay back. Others are so shallow as to be almost meaningless. Still others are so pretentious that they actually become disconnected from reality. Obviously, all of these are just bad relational deals.

            But, God doesn’t really traffic in such emptiness when it comes to the interpersonal. His interest is in high quality, deeply meaningful, and mutually fulfilling relationships. 

            In a prayer for their well-being, Jesus revealed the level of relational access which He envisions with those who would be His friend. He said, “… that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

            “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (Ref. John 17:20-23 NKJV)

            To be a true friend of God, is to come to this distinctive oneness of heart with Him. Always, in the redemptive relationship Christ moves the believer in the direction of this wonderful relational harmony with God. And what does this growing connection mean in terms of the everyday human reality?

The Dividends Of God's Friendship

            Well, for one thing, it means we will always know the reassurance which comes from an ever present divine companionship. Thus, in Christ, we never wake up alone, consigned to the surrounding circumstance with only our own puny resources with which to face it.

            Rather, there is always with us, the Divine Presence. And, from this everyday partnership flows a new confidence and an empowering synergy. Thus, this intimate league of two is exponentially more substantial in every way than a life lived alone and apart from our divine friend.

            And, God’s friendship also means that we are not forsaken to humanity’s chronic inner darkness. Whether that darkness takes the form of some latent and unexplained anger, or an ugly appetite, a blazing character flaw, or some unresolved guilt or insecurity etc., a friendship with the Almighty means – “It’s all solvable.” 

And Then, There’s The Voice

            And certainly, one incredible element of the divine friendship is the most life-changing resource of all – God’s voice. What could possibly compare to actually being able to converse with God in one’s heart on a moment to moment basis. Certainly, His inner voice becomes the everyday matrix and means of our relationship with Him. 

            To hear in our heart the divine “whispers” exposing powerful, even life-altering, insights does, indeed, profoundly impact us. To know the joy of being able to ask for divine direction in our life circumstance is so confirming. 

            To experience God’s comfort in our devastation, His encouragement in the face of our discouragement - such intervention is incomparable. Certainly, this ability to get an answer, to discover God’s wisdom, or to hear His inspiration or correction changes everything. 

            In addition to the intellectual exploration of God’s written Word, His inner voice becomes the daily connection which enables real depth, and sophistication, and personalization in our friendship with Him. And, without this conversational interaction, a truly intimate relationship with God simply wouldn’t be possible. But, in Christ, the divine conversation is, indeed, our everyday ongoing privilege.

What The Larger World Is Missing

            The reality which escapes non-believers, at least in concrete terms, is that Christ truly is a Living Savior. And, because He is alive, He is able to live in Spirit form within devout believers. 

            And, in the privilege of this shared essence, the devout are then afforded this invisible, but constant and very real, daily access.  And through this affectionate access, we are enriched in a thousand ways every day – far beyond just the most immediate need of the redemption of our soul.

            The world needs a Savior of the soul; and, Christ is certainly that. But, in more “earthy” terms, the Savior also brings to us the new reality of this energizing divine companionship. 

            And, in that closeness, Christ becomes our confidante’, our advice giver, our direction provider, our forgiver, our encourager, our helper, our therapist. 

            He becomes our rescuer, our teacher, our mentor, our loving confronter, our enlightener, our counselor, and our defender. And, in all of these roles, and many more, He remains, through all of the ups and downs of our life experiences, our unfailing and very true Friend – always looking out for our highest good.

The Joy Supersedes

            It’s true, nevertheless, the divine friendship does, indeed, involve a willingness to embrace the real requirements of that friendship - and there are some. Every important relationship has these. But eventually, these “mechanics” are simply swallowed up in the glorious shinning of our easy daily companionship.

            And again, that’s what the uninitiated don't really get. They simply miss the great joy of it all. But, indeed, the sheer beauty of this every day friendship stands in diametric opposition to the larger world’s mistaken idea that a renewed life in Christ is entirely defined by some Spartan lifestyle and “The Big List” - i.e. an oppressive catalog of do’s and don’ts. 

            To be sure, the divine friendship is one which changes us - but not by oppression. Rather, in essence, the redemptive process remains, first and finally, merely the process of a good friendship - doing what a good friendship always does. It elevates and enriches and enlarges our existence. 

            The writer of Proverbs put it this way.  “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”   So it is when God becomes, not just the Savior of your soul, but the “Renewer” of you’re here-and-now. 


Think he can’t do that for you?  Think again.  He absolutely can.  He is doing it for countless millions right now.  Why should you be any different?  Oh, did I mention, He is almighty.

                            Continue to Section 3