Friendship with God and Real Friends
Can you imagine having the Lord Jesus in person to be with you for one day? What would you think you would say to Him and visa versa? That would be amazing! He knows exactly what we need and what to say to us. It would be like surgery for a day. Fellowship with Him is in a totally different sphere as He is the origin of life who everyone really needs. His word has unlimited power that nothing can resist. That is unless He allows for it. It really is a void to be without this experience of His physical presence. Jesus was asked why John’s disciples fasted while His didn’t in Luke 5:33 to which He replied, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?’. Those around Jesus who were joined to His ministry would have got the ultimate life training program. There was little room for error to receive personal prophecy as Jesus’ mouth could be seen moving with His words as He spoke with His distinct voice. The only problem could be to misinterpret His exact words. These twelve would have got instant or perhaps a short delay to feedback on their daily tasks, assignments and progress of repentance and faith. Exact instructions were given by the Lord about when and where to go, what to do and how to do it. They would have received commendation and correction. At times they got a repuke as there is pain in progress. Wow! Because of this amazing grace I wouldn’t imagine there were many complications for them to stay in God’s will with all this direct and personal training program.
As well as having Jesus in person there was surer success for the twelve disciples’ to have life-term friends working alongside in ministry. They were all attached to one another in a life-commitment group that God Himself brought together. They didn’t get to choose this special group of ministry friends just as not getting to choose a natural family. The stark reality of the need for mercy and forgiveness was a reality every day and there was a reverence in Jesus’ presence. There was also a strictness that He wasn’t afraid to display at times because He really loved them, ‘As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love’ (John 15:9). They had personal attention from the Lord Himself to help them to work on their personal spiritual walk with Him. The Lord told them how they could be a true blessing, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). They were made to live in teamwork to help to stay spiritually clean and alert for the work of the Kingdom of God. It really takes effort to work at being spiritually alive and ready at every moment for action. They were a repentant circle of friends that experienced Jesus in His authority who was really living among them.
After Jesus death on the cross these first Apostles and the early church were slow to work on the revelation that He joined together the Jews and Gentiles to equally partake in the new creation, ‘that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace’ (Ephesians 2:15). As well as that it would seem that they didn’t grasp the revelation that they had a model group that was needed for every believer. I’m glad to say God was not only thinking about their sake but also the whole church to have one of these. I would say that a ministry friendship team is part of the spiritual inheritance for each member of Christ just as the land of Canaan was a natural place for Israel’s inheritance. Much better success can be had when active in ministry with a circle of spiritual friends. I couldn’t imagine this special first group of disciples is a special case. God made man with a spiritual family in mind and friendship groups go a long way to fulfill that void in the human heart. The Lord has designed everyone to be a part of a tight-knit spiritual family of friends. These would be intrinsically joined sharing innermost thoughts and feelings. It’s at a far higher level of support and care than having separate friendships who are not actively connected.
There’s no doubt that it’s happy days that now everyone joined to Christ has the Holy spirit with a more depth of God. In Jesus own words, ‘But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.’ (John 16:7). I know you are probably thinking that all Christians are better off as the Lord has just said. I personally would say He was talking to His disciples who had been on a wonderful intensive training program with Jesus’ personal attention. They were in a routine of what exactly needs to be done and what the Lord is looking for in their personal lives. Without training to listen to the Lord and following His clear direction much of the benefit becomes lost by having the Holy Spirit. It could really be a case of Jesus is better for a time until a certain training is reached to say that in reality having the Holy Spirit instead of Jesus in person becomes an advantage. It really comes down to living outside of God’s intention: every believer is to live in a group of repentant friends. It’s better than having the Lord in person if true believers have a friendship team that listen to the His voice, lives and understands His word, grace and kindness and follow specific instructions about what to do for the kingdom of God. It’s much trickier without the interest of friends to discover the gifts and callings that are unique to each individual member of Christ . Anyway with the process of repentance and faith it will clear the cobwebs to hearing the much needed instructions and to have a personal vision about where God is leading. There is a great blessing to be in this circle of spiritual friends who are keen to clean out their lives in the reverencial way that God wants. He is gentle so He needs everyone in these groups to be very attentive to what He is saying. In this way we can tap into a fuller grace to fulfill His purpose. The best thing ever is to enjoy the personal experience of living well with God: Emmanuel.
John McCarthy 31/01/19