God: The Father and Friend
Too many of us want to relate to God as a friend and not as a Father! It’s better this way. Our God, the greatest friend that ever lived. Supportive of our struggles, compassionate of our pain,
As a kid, I can not count how many times I heard a statement that concluded with, “…I’m not one of your little friends!” This statement generally was the conclusion of my mother who was dealing with my sense of humor as a child. It was fine to talk and ask questions, and there were many fun moments, but we understood that my parents were adults and were not to be “played with!”
Modeling Roles or Role Model….
Our parents modeled for us a way to relate to them. This example taught us the role of the parent and the child, and also served as a model for how we would judge all subsequent roles and carry out our future roles. There were certain things you didn’t do or say because you possessed a healthy level of fear and reverence for the position they were in. You understood that the rules and boundaries were not to be broken because punishment.
Old Models vs. New Model
But that was yesterday, and today is a new day. Many parents are more friend/influencer to their child rather than the are parental authority figure. This has caused us to see many children become adults that lack boundaries and rules that foster healthy balanced relationships. Many of them have become parents who are more like an older sibling to their child or a friend.
While parents must be more than simply an authority figure to their child (as God is with us), we must be careful not to wander too far to extremes that will cause future issues. While some of our parents had an improper balance, there were some who understood it was more important to love our children than to be liked by our children. I know, what the difference. Love is not always providing or catering to what feels good. Love also involves correction, structure and discipline. When we are worried about being liked, we spare the rod and end up spoiling the child. Our efforts to be liked then render our role as parents ineffective, and thus take from our children a role they need to prosper. Our children must understand the importance of “a child place” to properly function of an “parent’s position”.
The Honor of the Title Father!!!
We must keep in mind there is a reason God does everything. Because of this, we must look closely at the honor of men being able to bare the title “father”. No doubt, a child’s first association with the title and role of “father” is going to be with the relationship they have had with their earthly father, or other fathers in their community. In that, we must be sure that the image and life we model before our children will be one that leads them back to God and helps them understand Him better or steers them far away from Him. We are His image and likeness on earth, and are responsible for replicating it and not just reproducing it. This means our jobs are not done after procreation. We have been instructed by God to be a father to our children, and thus must not only provide and protect them, but must till their soil, planting and producing in them that they might know and serve the Lord all of their days.
Are you Really God’s Friend?
God is on record as having been a friend to a few righteous men who chose to walk with Him. He has furthermore, shown Himself to be friendly to us by His mercies, grace and understanding. Furthermore, like a friend, he is there for us; giving us wise counsel, and an open ear. He shares His resources with us, and is the greatest companion that anyone could ever know.
I’m thinking more Associate than Friend!
Jesus tells the disciples that He is going to die for His friends, and then describes these friends as ones who are obedient to Him. Jesus also calls the disciples His friends, saying that He had revealed all things to them that He had from the Father. So I think we should all ask ourselves, “Are we really God’s Friend?” Don’t get scared, I’m not asking, “Are you His child?” This is not about salvation, it is about the state of your relationship with God. He says that loving Him is displayed through obedience. He called righteous men His friend in the Old Testament. And these were devote servants, not those who were Israelites by title and covenant.
Friend? Yes we are friends of God; that is if you are actually being obedient.
What is this fascination with being a friend of Jesus?
We love that Jesus is our friend! Why? Because we have an earthly view again of the title friend. Our good friends are not only accepting of our sin and shame, but often supportive of our shame activities that cause us pain because they want us be happy. We have friends in our circle who cover for our wrongs, make excuses for our shortcomings, fund our habits, and are there to justify all of the chaos our sinful habits have made.
And while Jesus does die for us and intercede for us, He is not a supporter or enabler of our wicked behavior. He holds us accountable, setting a standard for our friendship, and holding us accountable for reaching it.
You can’t choose Friend or Father!
Now, here is the challenge I see in addition to what has been stated. I find there are too many that relate to God as a “Friend” and not as “The Father”. A friend might correct and confront, but a friend doesn’t punish us. We spend so much time thinking of God as a friend, that we often say things like “God knows my heart!” or “I am a friend of God!” The reality is that our perspective of God can limit what He accomplishes (faith), but it does not change the His character. He will always be our father! And as Father, all of the attributes He contains are balanced and distributed to His children as they have need. We will all stand before this Father one day, and will have to give an account for the lives we have lived. So, enjoy God’s friendship, but remember, He always Father!