Friendship: He Calls Me Friend

“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

This is the final installment of my friendship series

photo: Raye Wortel

Thinking about my closest friends is easy.  First, there’s Kim. Our time as friends has been short, but we find we’ve traveled many similar roads.  She’s my weekly coffee companion, and fits in my life like a welcomed gift.  Then there’s Jackie.  My beautiful sister-in-law whose been in my life for more than 25 years.  Time and distance keep us from each other, but I cherish each and every moment I spend in her company.  Her strength and grace-filled soul brings me great joy.  Lastly, there’s Renae.  The amazing woman I get to share these pages with.  Her friendship is my reward, and I am keenly aware of the depth to which she has touched my life.


Yet, in these great friendships, there is one that is greater still.


It’s a friendship so many of us have difficulty getting our head around.  When we hear that Jesus calls us friend, there is a hopeful joy in our heart, and a nagging doubt in our mind.


How could he call me friend? Doesn’t he know how I’ve lived my life?  What could I mean to him?


Questions we dwell on, but the truth is that relationships are his passion.


Why do we find it hard to accept his friendship?  I’ve got a few ideas…


We trade fear for fear.  Many of us have had the experience of picturing God as a menacing and aloof figure that doles out punishment and curses from his heavenly throne – far too busy to connect with lowly lives down here.  We live in fear of his retribution, and regard his refinement of us as simple punishment rather than a loving, masterful process.


In reality, fear of the Lord is better described as reverence, respect, and honor for the One who is the very essence of holiness, purity, and power.


When we hold someone in high esteem, we are eager to spend time “rubbing shoulders” with them – hoping that some of what they have will attach itself to us, and we’d be better for it.


Psalm 25:14 says that, “The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.”  To confide in is to entrust into another’s keeping.  Would you confide in someone you didn’t have a relationship with?  No, a relationship based on honor is essential.


It demands too much of me.  Have you ever had a friendship where you did all the work?  You contacted and served them regularly, and the relationship felt terribly one sided?  We usually bail on friendships like this, but sometimes we hang in there, and then comes a time when their service to us is more than anything we could have imagined.


God can sometimes feel like this kind of friend.  We faithfully pray to him, yet get silence in return.  We serve him eagerly, yet hardships still abound.  Forgetting his true nature, we bail on his friendship too soon.  Yet Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”


If we give up too soon on the unfolding of his ways – in his time, we run the risk of missing out on the ultimate gift our friendship with him yields.


Our “humility” grieves our friend.  “Who would want to be friends with me? I’m not important, good, or special enough.” Ever hear this?  Have you said it yourself?  Sometimes we make comments like this to elicit a complement from someone as a way to boost our self-esteem.


However, our act of “humility” can put us in a mindset that resists the Lord’s blessings or the promises he offers through his Word, but if we were to believe him, and have faith in his truths we would then be in the company of Abraham:


“And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.” (James 2:23 NIV)


How could he call you friend? Through his abundant grace.  Does he know how you’ve lived your life? You bet he does.  What do you mean to him? Everything.


Now, go accept his gift of friendship, and be greater for it!


Lord, thank you for calling me friend.  I desire our relationship to be a healthy and thriving one.  Please give me a heart that fully accepts your gift with reverent fear – never wanting to give it up.  Amen.


4 Replies

  1. Kim Royster

    Raye I am encouraged to accept this wonderful gift of friendship. It is truly a gift! I also agree that cultivating our relationship with Jesus strengthens our earthly relationships.! Keep using your gift of words. The blessing and impact I’m sure goes beyond what you know or realize. Your friend, Kim

    1. So great to see you among these pages Kim! Thank you for such kind words, and may God continue to bless our friendship!

  2. Lori Perez

    Beautifully written Raye. I have enjoyed reading each week about friendship. That word sometimes is taken lightly or taken to strongly. This was a wonderful way to end what you have talked about for the last weeks. I am so happy that I have Jesus as my friend.

    1. I’m so pleased you’ve enjoyed the friendship series. It truly is a wonderful thing to have Jesus as our friend. Working on our relationship with him, will transform our earthly friendships into full and fruitful ones. So nice to hear from you as usual.

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