“A rule I have had for years is: to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. His is not a creed, a mere doctrine, but it is He Himself we have.”
Friendship with God is a liberating secret for the believer. It releases us from the terrible bondage of religion and ritual with all its negative connotations. Intimacy with our Lord will carry us beyond creed or doctrine to the place of true communion.
It’s not that the Law is bad, but in the intense light of God’s grace, it’s really a very poor substitute. We value legalism, and that is precisely what we believe when we bypass the relationship. Doctrine is a good servant, but a poor master.
Grace always overcomes legalism. Love truly surpasses rules.
As good evangelicals, we talk big about a “personal relationship.” That is indeed crucial. But few be the believers that walk in a daily friendship with their Savior. That is truly a tragedy. We come oh so close, but we misunderstand the depth of the Gospel.
As a teacher of God’s Word, I mourn over my students when they miss out on what is real and true. I’m afraid for them. I’m also scared that I may just be adding to their confusion. The issue can be seen in Paul’s concern for the church in Corinth.
“I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends since I have told you everything the Father told me.”
John 15:15, NLT
Friendship with Jesus will bring true guidance. He shares secrets and wisdom with his friends. We are brought into a true knowledge of the Kingdom through the relationship of friendship with the King. We are not slaves– or drones, slavishly serving out of slavish fear.
We’re now His friends! (Imagine that.)
Jesus wants to confide in us; sharing wisdom and truth hidden by time and sin. And his kingdom is chock full of great mysteries! He is looking to bring us into a willingness of daily communion. Only through intimacy with Jesus can we handle what He wants to teach us. (see Psalm 25:14; John 15:15.)
He will heal our wounds, and forgive all our darkest sins. He is truly our Savior as well as our friend.
But friendship comes with a price. It means we are now tethered to the Lord. That can get old, especially when I want to do my own thing. I will continually have to lay something down and choose to accept being tethered and follow Him.
But my soul now has a best friend. Or just maybe, Jesus has been my friend all along, and I just didn’t know it.