6. SERVANT OR FRIEND?
THIS SERIES: HOW TO FIND REST IN THE LORD
We have a personal invitation: instead of feeling separated from God, we have been called to live in the Father’s love, to love Him back and then to let that river of love flow out to touch everyone around us. And none of this is by our own effort; the Holy Spirit, the great Enabler, has been given to us to empower us to live this life of love.
JESUS CALLS US FRIENDS
Jesus wants to move us from a servant-master relationship to a friendship [John 15:14,15]. Servants are task-oriented, friends are relationship-motivated. Servants listen unquestioningly for commands, and focus on performance. A good servant is one who completes every task successfully. A servant, however, is not usually accepted as part of the family, and does not have a voice into the affairs of a household.
Friends, on the other hand, get to partner in the process, to work with, rather than for, another. Good friends value relationship over activity, intimacy over performance. Good friends love to just be with each other. Good relationships take time.
Amazingly, God offers us friendship: the opportunity to spend time in His presence, to show us what He is doing, and invite us into partnership with Him. He wants us to know Him, to hear His ‘heartbeat’, and for us to share ourselves with Him.
But often we settle for servanthood instead, and our Christian walk becomes a list of things we should do to please the Lord. We can talk at Him, but never really be with Him. We can rush into His presence with our shopping list of requests, we can make our declarations, and quote scriptures to Him; and there’s nothing wrong with any of that, except we can do all of those things and never actually be present to Him. We can turn up for every possible meeting or event, serve on a host of ministry teams or even be in church leadership, and never learn to live in His love.
Let’s carve out time to spend time in His presence; to be really quiet and just be with Him, to listen and catch His heartbeat. And let’s ditch some of the stuff which keeps us from hanging out with Him. It takes time to be intimate.
We have a personal invitation to live in the Father’s love, and then to let that river of love flow out to touch everyone around us. The Holy Spirit, the great Enabler, has been given to us to empower us to live this life of love.
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And if you feel far from God at the moment, the following pages may help:
Not only were we made for relationship with God, we were also created to fellowship with other people.
Which are the life-giving relationships in your life? The ones which leave you feeling energised and refreshed? The ones where laughter, encouragement and intimate sharing all have a place? The ones which spur you on in your relationship with the Lord?
Many times our relationships become institutionalised. We connect with others because we are members of the same local body, or have a shared task, but there is no flow of life. It’s possible to work or worship with other Christians for years and never really see or know each other.
And then there are those relationships which make a huge demand on our personal resources. It’s part of our calling to be a life-source to others, but we need to recognise which connections are a source of stress, and make sure we counter-balance them with those which breathe life into us.
We all need people we can do life with. People who will walk with us when things are tough, and will rejoice with us when we are blessed. People who really see us as we are. This shared life is the basis of ‘koinōnia’, the fellowship experienced by early Christians [Acts 2:42].
Intimate relationships with God and with other people are vital to a healthy life. If you are short of either or both of these, ask the Lord who provides for all of our needs.
Incidentally, God-given ‘life-joints’ often blur artificial church ‘boundaries’. Take the risk—there are people out there who are just what you need on your journey!
NEW SERIES: LIVING IN THE OVERFLOW
GET IN TOUCH
[Photo credits: Tyler Nix (You are loved); Tyler Nix (people); Davide Baraldi (Letter box) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
Da Kraplak (type writer);
Merakist (social media)
@ Unsplash, with thanks]
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