“He loves us and cares about us,” says Karymeh, 7. “He made us and wants to talk to us. He wants to see us and play and have fun.”
When you love someone, you want to be around them. You want to talk, play and have some fun. For some, it’s difficult to imagine the words “play, fun and God” in the same sentence.
I’ll never forget seeing the beluga whale exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. These amazing creatures entertain themselves and visitors by blowing perfectly formed air rings that shimmer, expand and gradually dissipate in the water as the whales nudge them along.
In addition to acting like children cut loose in the backyard with bubble wands, these Arctic white wonders swim directly toward visitors smiling and mugging for the cameras. Like children, they never seem to tire of play.
God wants us to be with him in heaven because “he wants to have us as friends and have intimate fellowship with us,” says Ilona, 10.
It’s easy to underestimate the power of friendship when we live in a culture that is highly mobile and full of isolating activities (TV viewing, computer games and listening to our playlists). Before the advent of mass transportation and cars, most people lived their entire lives within a few miles of where they were born. They knew their neighbors.
In spite of living in a culture that prizes the individual over the community, we must try to understand that God cherishes community. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have lived in holy community and fellowship forever. God has invited us to enter into that realm of oneness and unity that prefers the good of others over our own good.
Because God is God and we are his creation, smart people soon realize that life on the highest plane prefers to know and do God’s good will over what seems good to them. Patriarch Abraham not only had God’s righteousness credited to him because he believed God, but he also became a “friend of God” because he preferred God’s will over his own (James 2:23).
Shortly before his crucifixion, Jesus said to his disciples: “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).
Friends share secrets. Jesus invites us into intimate friendship with himself and his Father. Wow! It’s one thing for an important person to take you into his or her confidence, but when Jesus offers to tell us what the Father has revealed to him, that’s life on the highest plane. By comparison, everything else is mundane.
The very word that Jesus chose for his people is “ekklesia,” which is translated from Greek as “assembly” or “gathering.” In English, it’s called “church,” but its origin has nothing to do with religion. Ekklesia was the gathering of citizens in a Greek city-state. Everyone had a say and a vote.
The lightning-in-a-bottle like electricity that characterized the first-century church crossed social, economic and ethnic barriers. Of the Jerusalem church, the Apostle Luke wrote: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship in the breaking of bread and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).
Think about this: God wants to be your friend.
Memorize this truth: Acts 2:42 quoted previously.
Ask this question: Are you a friend of God?
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Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
COPYRIGHT 2006 CAREY KINSOLVING