What are the criteria you will look for in a friend? When you look for a friend, you will have your set of criteria in finding a suitable and compatible friend. It is like looking for a life partner. For a life partner, the criteria might be even more stringent! First of all, let us consider these criteria for what we would expect in a friend. We normally look for the outward appearance of a person whether one is appealing to us or not. If the first impression we have received of that person is good, it is likely that we would consider him or her to be our friend. Sometimes, the first impression can be misleading. We would need to explore other options before we can comfortably accept that person as our friend. We may consider the qualifications or credentials of that person. We may even consider the Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.) and the Emotional Quotient (E.Q.) of that individual. In this instance, some may say or think whether that is a fair treatment of that person. We all recognise that each individual is unique and special. We are aware that we cannot judge a book by its cover. That would be discriminating! We might even consider whether that individual is sociable, eloquent and knowledgeable. Besides, we also look for the personalities of the one whom we hope to receive as a friend.
So, a true friend is someone whom we can trust, relate, share and enjoy together. Extracted from https://www.quora.com: “A true friend is someone who has your back when things are going very wrong in your life. A true friend is someone who keeps their promises, and makes you want to keep yours, too. A true friend is someone who neither leads nor follows, but walks with you. You’ll know when you find them.”
How about yourself being a friend to others? How do we prepare our self to be accepted as a friend by others? These require a lot of soul searching and soul transforming! What about being a friend of God? Don’t we want to be a friend of God? What did the Bible say about being a friend of God? Who do we know is such a friend to God? Abraham? Moses? David? Let us search the Bible and find out. The purpose of this pastoral perspective aims to enhance our understanding on how we can be a friend of God.
In James 2:23 ESV, we learn that Abraham was called a friend of God because he believed God and also because of his faith in God that he was counted as righteous before God. In Exodus 33:11 ESV, we learn that God spoke with Moses face to face, as a man speaks to His friend. In the New Testament, Jesus Himself has taught us how we can be a friend of God. In John 15:14-15, we learn what Jesus our Lord has spoken: “You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” Basically, to be a friend of God, we need to follow the instructions of Jesus. We need to wholeheartedly follow the ways of Christ. When you do what He commands, you are His friends indeed! The willingness to follow the ways of Christ is the prerequisite of being a friend of God. Placing your trust in Jesus, having believed in Him as your Lord and Saviour, walking with Him wholeheartedly and relating intimately with Him through spending time with Him in Word and prayer strengthen this friendship with God. One of the commandments which Jesus has given us is in John 13:34-35 which states: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” How have we carried out this commandment in our daily Christian life? If we have been obedient to the Word of God, the commands of Jesus in our lives, then we are a friend of God.
So, the hallmarks of being a friend of God are: faith in God, follow His Word closely, focus on being faithful to God and freely loving others just as Christ Jesus has loved us. This is what Hebrews 11:6 conveys to us: “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
Let us, as children of the living God, longs to be a friend of God. Amen.
Preacher George Ang
December 1, 2019