Thursday, May 9, 2013

I Call You 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 that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."  John 15:14-15

When the Lord brought both my husband and I back to him 13 years ago, we were willing to surrender our lives to him.  Jesus not only was our Savior, but he became our Lord.  He began to prune sin and the world out of our lives.  Out of his great mercy for us and his goodness, we both were changed.  We encountered the living God and his power.

When this happened, we could not contain the good news.  We began to share with many to include our family.  However, my in-laws were not happy about our transformation.   Although they were of Lutheran background, they did not approve of our sharing the gospel or our faith with them.  They could not handle how we were being changed radically for him.  Because of this, they chose not to be actively involved in our lives. We are now going on  13 years.

They have probably seen our kids about less than 6 times in the last 13 years.  We call them periodically to have the kids talk to them which is somewhat awkward.  They believe that they have a good relationship with our kids.  Our kids really don't know who they are and when they have seen them they are really uncomfortable because of how they act.  They don't engage the kids, but prefer to talk about themselves.  It is really difficult.  They wanted our oldest daughter to go on a trip with them a few years back and tried to work in out with her behind our back.  However, she said she did not want to because she doesn't know them.  They live only 9 miles from us, yet they cannot take time to get to know their grandchildren. They believe that they have a personal relationship with our kids, but they don't.  They know who are kids are.  They may know some basic information about them, but they do know really know them.

Relationships are developed when we take time getting to know another person.  We will spend time listening to them to find out what they desire.  We also come to know who they are and begin to identify how they respond as we are with them.  The more time we spend with them, the more we become intimate with them personally.  This can only come by investing our time and energy into their lives.

We too can fall into this trap believing we can have a personal relationship with God without putting in the effort.  We only seek him when needed or when Christmas and Easter come around.   We are busy doing our own thing and enjoying life.  We only call upstairs when we are going through a problem in life and need a bailout.  We want to live our own lives doing what we enjoy and not being bothered by accommodating someone else.   We are too busy thinking about ourselves.  We aren't really interested in the things of God or his will because we are too busy doing what we want.

Jesus tells us we are his friends if we do what he commands.  He also then calls him friends because he spent time with them showing them the will of his Father.  He knew that in order for them to know God, they needed to know Jesus.  Jesus is the way to the Father.  Jesus died so that we could be reconciled back to God.  His blood atoned for our sin and we are forgiven because of what he has done.

In Hebrews, we are told that he is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek him.  He wants us to come and learn from him.  He has laid out his will and plan.  He wants us to see who he is and what is will is for our lives.  We cannot come to know this if we don't spend time daily with him.  We need to not only be in prayer, but we need to read the word.  He tells us that the word of God is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.  His word gives life to us.  His word washes and cleanses us.  He word gives us instruction for daily living.  He also gives us his promises in his word.  This is what keeps us firm in our faith because our faith comes by hearing the word of God.  He desires that we come to know him and the power of his resurrection.

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