“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 15:15 NIV)
The word for “friend” in this verse does not mean a casual acquaintance but a close, trusted relationship. The same word is used to refer to the best man at a wedding (John 3:29) and a king’s inner circle of intimate, trusted friends. In royal courts, servants must keep their distance from the king, but the inner circle of trusted friends enjoy close contact, direct access, and confidential information.
That God would want me for a close friend is hard to understand. But the Bible says, “He is a God who is passionate about his relationship with you” (Exodus 34:14 NLT).
God deeply desires that we know him intimately. In fact, he planned the universe and orchestrated history, including the details of our lives, so that we could become his friends. The Bible says, “He made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him” (Acts 17:26–27 MSG).
Knowing and loving God is our greatest privilege, and being known and loved is God’s greatest pleasure. God says, “If any want to boast, they should boast that they know and understand me .… These are the things that please me” (Jeremiah 9:24 TEV).
It’s difficult to imagine how an intimate friendship is possible between an omnipotent, invisible, perfect God and a finite, sinful human being. It’s easier to understand a Master-servant relationship or a Creator-creation relationship or even Father-child. But what does it mean when God wants me as a friend?
Talk About It
- What do you think about the truth that the Creator of the universe desires an intimate relationship with you?
- In what ways can you pursue a deeper relationship with God?
This May Saddleback Church will host Summit VIII to inspire and equip Christians to effectively live out God’s love for the orphan through adoption, foster care, and global initiatives. Learn more about Summit at www.summitviii.org.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.