John 15:15 (NASB)
15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
Here Jesus tells his disciples that they are His friends. Why? He has opened Himself up to them. He has shared with them His heart, His concerns, His desires, and His plans. Not with complete clarity, but in a very real sense, they know Him. They are on the inside.
He contrasts the declaration of friendship with the slave-master relationship. Of course, this does not mean that they no longer serve Him. Earlier in the same passage, Jesus says, “You are My friends if you do what I command you.”
The distinction is that a slave obeys because of station, duty, and obligation. The master does not confide in him. A friend, on the other hand, serves out of love, devotion, and affection.
Followers of Christ are on the inside—as much as they choose to be anyway. God has revealed Himself and his plans to us in His word. His Spirit is with us and He speaks intimately to our hearts. He has made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf—His death on the cross for our sins. He is a friend to us. We celebrate this. We even sing that song, “I am a friend of God—I am a friend of God—He calls me friend!”
The question is: Am I a friend to God?
Serving Him simply because it is right is good and appropriate. But I want to be so much more than that for my God. I want to serve Him because I know Him and I am so eager to be a part of what He is doing. In the John 15 passage Jesus says, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” It is important to God that we love each other sacrificially. OK, there’s a place to start.
Do you see where I am going with this? Any good friend will make an effort to find out about the interests, dreams, and goals of his friends. And, to the degree he is devoted to those friends, he will support them in their endeavors through whatever means he has available. They will respond with trust and confidence in his friendship.
I believe God is touched when I show a real interest in His concerns—when I try to know His heart. There are many things that God won’t, maybe can’t, tell me in this life. But I think there are lots of things He wants to tell me about Himself. He’s waiting until I care, until I am ready to really listen, or until I am at a place in my life where I understand.
And then what do I do with what He shares with me? Do I hold it as precious and let it shape my worldview and my lifestyle? Or do I enjoy the neat spiritual experience and kind of let it go “in one ear and out the other?” God’s greatness is beyond my comprehension and yet He tenderly, openly, and vulnerably offers me friendship. How sad it would be if I traded it for something less and, in that sense, rejected Him.
How amazing, though, that I have the opportunity to be more of a friend to God tomorrow than I am today. I can bless God’s heart, and in increasing measure be someone He can confide in and count on. And He wants me to. I am not gifted enough with words to express the wonder and humility forced on my heart by that truth.