A Friend of God
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” -- John 15:4
Reverend George W. Gray was the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Lexington, Missouri, for 21 years until he retired. He spent the rest of his life serving his small rural town, frequently making hospital visits and stopping by people’s homes to pray for them. When Reverend Gray passed away, his funeral was not attended by thousands, only a hundred or so. When those who attended his funeral were asked what they remembered most about Reverend Gray, they all said the same thing. They didn’t talk about his great preaching or his leadership or his church management skills. They talked about how he prayed. Reverend Gray did not pray fancy, exuberant prayers. He prayed like a man who was talking to his best friend. When he prayed you knew God was listening, because he knew God was listening. He knew God, and God was his Friend.
As a young pastor in my early twenties, this story made an incredible impact on me. It reordered the priorities of my life. I no longer wanted to pray just when I had a to-do list of things I needed or wanted from Him. I wanted to be a friend of God. I wanted to talk with Him and hear from Him, a God Who knew my name and Whose voice I recognized. I left that service not only wanting to be a man who was used by God, but a man who was friends with God.
Like any friendship, our friendship with God will only grow as deep and intimate as the time we are willing to commit to it. It’s amazing how many things we make time for in our lives that have so little eternal value, and consequently, we always find ourselves too busy for the Lord. The incredible beauty in committing time every day to speak to God and listen for His voice is He wants to spend time with us even more than we do with Him.
How often do we only communicate with God when we’re in trouble or when we have a big decision to make? Of course He wants to help us, but even more than that, He just wants to talk with us every day, just like a friend would. In fact, He sent His Son to die so we could be friends with Him. John 15:15 says, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
The entire story of the Bible is the story of a Father pursuing His children, of God pursuing us. He wants to meet with you every day, anytime, wherever you are. Find the time. Make the commitment. Become friends with God.
Heavenly Father, here I am. I want to hear from You. I want to know You. I want to be Your friend. Speak to me, let me hear Your voice and know Your heart for me today, and every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For Further Study
- Matthew 7:7; John 10:27; Romans 5:10
-- Niles Holsinger
Taken from Created to Be, a Gateway devotion.