Can you really be friends with Jesus? Isn’t that just a load of folk-lore?
I hear people saying, “God told me this” and “God told me that” but no one else seemed to hear it. Some of the people who say that sort of thing most are a bit freaky to be around. Sometimes I wonder if they say, “God told me . . .” just to impress others with how spiritual they are and to create a smoke screen to deter anyone from critiquing them. If you watch them for a while you soon see that God apparently changes his mind quite often. One day they’re all hot and bothered about doing something but a week goes by and God doesn’t care about it any more. Makes you wonder if their friendship with God is really just a case of schizophrenia.
The way of faith has to be more convincing than that. There has to be a real and functional way to relate to Jesus and it can’t be a license to blame God while we do whatever we want.
Going beyond those sick individuals who pretend they hear from God, we are looking for any who show evidence of actually hearing from Jesus. The skeptic wants to set the quest in empirical terms and only wants to accept replicable results. The overly spiritual want to feel the hair on their necks rise and see the goose-bumps. Reality is closer to the middle and when we think about what Jesus told his disciples we realize that he gave them the key with the invitation to be his friends.
“I have called you friends because I have told you everything that I learned from my Father.” John 15:15
We won’t find what he is saying to us today by searching through the figments of our imagination and trying to justify the convenient. Nor will it come to us by parroting off what someone else (preferably rich, successful and well-known) says. The “party line” won’t do!
When he declared to his disciples that they were his friends he also gave them the key to learning more and growing in friendship with him – the same key still works today. “Because” is the clue – I have told you everything that I learned from my Father.
He left us with all that we need to know him and it’s wrapped up in the things he told his disciples – particularly about the Father.
So we can still use the same method today. The immediate disciples had committed his teachings to memory and took the insights with them wherever they went. We can be glad that later some folks decided to write these teachings on paper and we have translations available today.
Hard question: Where would we look to find the record of what Jesus said?
Easy answer: the Gospels.
Easy question: So all I have to do is be able to read?
Hard answer: Yep, and then dare to think about what you read. Looking for the actual meaning of what he said when he said it will point us in the right direction. The insights we find gain traction in our lives as we think about that meaning and how it fits with our lives today. In the process we grow in knowing him. He already knows us. Getting to know him is a process. A process takes time and benefits from being cultivated.
The empiricist needn’t be disappointed, relationships are hard things to measure in a clinical way (ask any sociologist). A relationship is dynamic and “evolving,” not clinical or analytical. And, to be consistent, how many of your relationships do you subject to empirical measurement? Like, none?
The overly spiritual needn’t feel let down – life is about more than just how we feel. In fact life is at its richest when we realize it’s not all about us. We need to see the bigger picture and grow in our perspectives. Drama and shows may have a place in life but they make a mess of relationships.
We do best in response to Jesus’ friendship invitation when we take the approach of listening to what he said, discovering what it means and meditating on how these things fit into our lives. As we make the effort the process kicks in and transformation is inevitable. We become friends with God!
Posted on August 24, 2011, in Self-awareness and tagged chemsitry in relationships, disciples, friendship, Jesus, relationship chemistry, Religion and Spirituality, self-acceptance. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.