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Are you God’s friend or enemy?

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There is nothing better in all the world than to be a friend of God. William Temple said, “True worship is when a person attains intimacy and friendship with God.” But just how does such a friendship come about?

In order to begin answering this important question, consider these words from Jesus: “He who is not with me is against me” (Luke 11:23). You see, the world is divided between those who are with Jesus, and those who are against Him. There is no third option.
“The mind of sinful man is death…the sinful mind is hostile to God” (Romans 8:6,7). Man’s sin places enmity and hostility between himself and God. Just look at how much hatred is directed at millions of persecuted Christians. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18).

Scripture reveals that “friendship with the world is hatred toward God. Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4). This world is passing away, while the kingdom of God will exist forever. And you and I must make a choice.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). It is impossible to be a friend of God unless the love of God is in your heart. “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar” (1 John 4:20).

Spiritual conversion brings God’s love into the heart of a believer. “God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us” (Romans 5:5). This is the only way to develop a friendship with God. Every other effort to connect with God falls short. 
So is your heart filled with God’s love? Have you repented of your sins and received Jesus as your Savior? “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Unless you believe in the God of the Bible, you cannot be His friend. “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend” (James 2:23). Another one of God’s many friends we meet in the Bible is Enoch, who “walked with God; then he was no more, because God took Him away” (Genesis 5:24).

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything I have learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:13-15).
A friendship with God involves faith and obedience.

You first trust Jesus as your Savior, and then you immediately begin to obey Him. First you get saved by grace through faith, (Ephesians 2:8-9) and then you begin to follow Jesus with your thoughts, speech, and behavior. Good works flow from faith in Christ. And it is God who produces this good fruit within the life of everyone who is forgiven, justified, born again, saved and redeemed. (John 15:5-8; Philippians 2:13)

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). Obedience is the primary way in which God’s friends express their love for their Lord and Savior. Scripture instructs us: “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). Every friend of God wants to do God’s will in order to please the Lord. 
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well” (John 14:6,7). In other words, there is no friendship with God apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ. Those who know Jesus know the Father and the Holy Spirit as well. God consists of Three Persons in One God. 

So are you God’s friend, or are you His enemy? Those who are not with Jesus are against Him. Jesus made this fact abundantly clear. (Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23)  You will never find a more faithful friend than Jesus. Oswald Chambers wrote, “The dearest friend on earth is a mere shadow compared to Jesus Christ.” In the words of the famous hymn: “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.”

Prayer does for the soul what breathing does for the body. Intimacy with God cannot take place apart from a consistent and robust prayer life.  E.M. Bounds wrote, “Those who know God the best are the richest and most powerful in prayer. Little acquaintance with God, and strangeness and coldness to Him, make prayer a rare and feeble thing."

A friendship with God involves talking and listening. And if you want to hear from God, you will need to meditate daily upon His Word. The prophet Jeremiah said, “When your words came I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight” (Jeremiah 15:16). Linda Schubert wrote, “God wants to speak to us more than we want to listen. He is a God of love, and love longs to communicate."

Christianity is much more of a relationship than a religion. Oswald Saunders summed it up: “We are at this moment as close to God as we really choose to be.” You can begin right now to develop a warm friendship with your Creator. In the words of Charles Spurgeon: “Jesus feels for you, Jesus consoles you, Jesus will help you."

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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