A True Friend

a true friend post 3 2018 2

Post 3, 2018

“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t it never was.”  – Jess Lair

An eternity ago that quote adorned a poster of an idyllic countryside hanging on my bedroom wall. At the time, I was head over heals in love with a beau who failed to feel the same making our relationship anything but idyllic! During those tumultuous months, I often gazed at that quote and thought my world would end if I ‘let him go.’ In reality, I was far better off when I finally loosened my grasp long enough for him to escape. I had a lot to learn!

Although not a statement I’d base my entire life on, there’s some truth in it. Relationships won’t last if there isn’t commitment from both ends. Those who are willing to wait forever for their partner to come around often end up broken-hearted. At the other end, people who smother others with a steel-like grip eventually find themselves lonely.

Often, those who don’t know God speak as though following Him requires bending to His ‘steel-like grip.’ Yet, in reality, the opposite is true. God is supreme, yet as I look further at the the story of mankind’s beginnings in the garden, I see something I wouldn’t necessarily expect from a supreme being. One of the first gifts God gave those He made in His likeness and image was the freedom to pursue or reject His rule.

One of the first gifts God gave those He made in His likeness and image was the freedom to pursue or reject His rule. Click To Tweet

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

…The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:8-9,15-17 (NIV)

A TRUE FRIEND OFFERS THE ABILITY TO CHOOSE

A previous post details why God forbid Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Suffice it to say it was for their protection. What I want to note is, through that tree God gave Adam and Eve the ability to choose either to pursue Him or walk away. ‘You can eat from the myriad of trees and plants I’ve made for your nourishment and enjoyment so you may live abundantly, or you can choose this one tree and suffer consequences beyond your current ability to understand.’ As supreme Creator, God could have made a nice comfy garden with the most wonderful foods and greatest entertainment, but with no ability to choose. God didn’t want servants or captives, He wanted friends so He willingly provided an opportunity for His friends to say “no” to friendship and His rule by eating from the forbidden tree.

a true friend post 3 2018 2 (2)
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A TRUE FRIEND IS WILLING TO SACRIFICE TO RESTORE FRIENDSHIP

Yet God’s love didn’t end in giving Adam and Eve the freedom of choice. God also saw the dire results of their choice, and their forthcoming inability to escape their own consequences. In amazing love, God formulated a plan to rescue and restore not only they but also their children and children’s children. The only possible rescue would be of such a magnitude so as to require the death of His Son as a ransom.

The greatest evidence of God’s love is that although we’ve rebelled against His rule and scorned His friendship, He’s made a way for us to be restored.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. Romans 6:5-11 (NLT) emphasis mine

God's greatest offering of friendship came while we were His enemies. While we rebelled against His rule, He loved us to the point of sacrifice in order to restore friendship with Him. Click To Tweet

Supreme Creator. Highest Ruler. Yet He didn’t force Himself. He offered Himself. Then in lavish love made a way for rebellious subjects to return home, through the death of His Son. Where are you today? Are you a loyal friend and subject to His rule, or are you wandering about needing God’s love to show you the way home?

True friendship recognizes that the only way to restore a broken friendship is for the one scorned to make a way for the offender to be restored. Click To Tweet

To view last week’s post in this ongoing series, click here. To view the next post in the series “A Love the Covers Shame,” click here.

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Amazing Grace! God’s amazing grace chooses to restore, not destroy

Hopeless No More! God’s amazing restoration of relationship  came through the death of His Son, Jesus.

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An Introduction Unlike Any Other

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Post Two, 2018 (Formerly En Courage)

The beauty of a true friend comes from camaraderie and the confidence in knowing, “You really get me and still like me.” I remember when my husband and I were dating, I would sometimes remark, “Just wait, when you really get to know me you may not like me as much as I can be ‘fiery’ and my passions can get the better of me sometimes.” He’d laugh nervously, and I always wondered if he was re-thinking his undying love. I’m so glad he decided to marry me anyway, and although he knows me well, he even likes me.

To think of God as one who could be my friend wasn’t something I used to consider because, “My end of the friendship wouldn’t satisfy. God may love me but He couldn’t really like me.” Yet God’s Word says so differently. Why’s it so easy to doubt?

As I pondered and prayed over where to begin examining how I could ever be confident as God’s friend, the thought came to me, “Begin at the beginning.”

If I want to get to know someone, I must first be willing to listen to what they say about themselves. And if I want to get to know God, I must be willing to do the same. Click To Tweet

If I want to know God as friend, I need to discover who he is and why He says friendship is even a possibility. I can’t just take the word of others. Nor can I assume the outcome of my query based upon my own presuppositions or prejudice. I need to take the time to find out by sitting and listening to God and by spending time with Him. If I fail to do so, I will misunderstand Him and possibly assume things about Him that aren’t true.

Do I really want to know God, or do I only care about others’ opinions of Him?

There have been times I’ve said, “I’ll never be that person’s friend because…….?” Yet later discovered all I presupposed was wrong and we became the best of friends. In the same way, I’m learning to know God as ‘friend,’ I need to spend time getting to know Him. The only way I can do this is by reading what He says about Himself and by communicating with Him about myself. God speaks to mankind first through his Word, the Bible. We communicate to Him through prayer.

So then, what is the first thing God says about Himself?

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God….”

In the beginning God (1)
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When we’re first introduced to someone, we often begin by mentioning something important about ourselves, something unique to us. No one but God could ever open an introduction with, “Nothing else existed before me.” If anyone other than God said such things, we’d be calling the police and moving away s.l.o.w.l.y. So this statement obviously sets God apart. But why did God choose this statement to introduce Himself, of all the things He could say?

Genesis 1:1 is God’s introduction to mankind.

Since God was in the beginning, before anything else existed, He’s set apart from everything else as supreme. That’s an important thing to know about God. There’s nothing above, or even near Him in rank. I imagine for some, this causes red flags! We know plenty of people who think they’re better than us, and they don’t mind letting us know in not too pleasant a fashion. But, let’s give God’s intro a chance and see what comes next.

God goes on to say:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth….

The second thing God wants us to know about Himself is that He used His supremacy to give the gift of life! And when He finished, He was so pleased with the beauty, grandeur, and masterful craftsmanship of His creation, He declared, “It is good!” If you want to read the entire account–found in the first two chapters of the Bible, you can find it here in a modern language. (You may also be interested in reading a post about it here.)

God fashioned everything meticulously, in an order that would sustain and produce life with mathematical precision. And after thoughtfully creating all else, at the very last, He tenderly scooped up clay from the ground and with great tenderness formed man ‘into His own image and likeness.’ Then God-breathed, filling Adam with life.’ Within a short time, God, with the same care, put Adam to sleep, removed a rib, and beautifully sculpted a similar but unique form suited well to Adam and gave her life. None other of His creation was made with such intimate care. Why?

God gave us the gift of life for relationship with Him. That's why He made us. Click To Tweet

While God’s Son Jesus walked this earth, he often beckoned those around him to friendship. In the book of Revelation (the last book of the Bible) the Apostle John heard Jesus say:

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Revelation 3:20 nlt

When you look at the thought of becoming God’s friend, what holds you back? Would you be willing to comment or email your reasons? I’d love to discuss some of the reasons (without names of course) in future posts. Also, would anyone be interested in a closed FB page for further discussion with like-minded people? Let me know what you think.

If you are interested in looking at the previous post “Pursuing God’s Heart, Becoming His Friend” click here. If you are interested in the next post in the series, “A True Friend” click here.

I’ve created this free downloadable, as these are the things I’ve discovered over the years that have helped develop my friendship with God. Below is what it will look like in your inbox. To receive your copy, submit the form below, and it will automatically be forwarded to you. You will also be notified when new posts arrive. You’ll also be the first to know when there is exciting news, such as when my new Bible Study comes out (it will be a while yet). I hate spam, so I won’t send it. My posts come out about once a week, and any special notices will be sporadic.

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Receive "How to Begin A Relationship With God" Resource

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On this journey too,

Robin <3

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