Now, if we are no longer enemies, then what are we? Friends! Yes, we are God’s friends! Jesus said to His disciples, and also to us:

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15 NIV)

God calls us His friends! That is, if we want to be His friends. Many people have no desire to be a friend of God, because then He would be in their business. If they hear God’s voice, then they are obligated to follow His instructions. Kind of like my dog! We hide our eyes and ears from God, hoping that He doesn’t see us. And if He doesn’t see us, then He can’t tell us what to do. How ridiculous is that!

Notice that Jesus says that we are His friends, because He wants to share with us His business. He wants us to be part of what He is doing! If you had to choose, whose business would you want to be part of? Well, the truth is that we can choose to be part of God’s business, because He wants us to be! In fact, He wants to make His business known to anyone who wants to hear it. Literally!

In fact, Jesus said this astounding thing in the same passage as his “friends” statement:

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.  He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.  All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 16:13-15 NIV)

He makes it very clear that God’s desire is to speak to His people. In fact, He has sent Himself in the form of the Holy Spirit to dwell in His believers for the purpose of open communication with His people. That’s what friends do—they keep the channels of communication open and unclogged, so that they can speak to one another anytime and any place. We are His friends, and God will tell us the unadulterated truth about the past, present and future. Did you catch that? He even wants to tell us about what is coming in the future! What a great friend to have!

The key is to be humble in mind and open in heart. If you can do that, then you will hear from the God of the Universe—your Friend!

I think back to the time when I was a child. I knew very little about the world and how it worked. I was curious and wide-eyed with questions about everything from dogs to cars to stars to books. Do you remember being that curious?

But now, I have had (as we say in Tennessee) a “snoot-full” of the world. I know that it basically runs on money and is motivated by money, fame and power. Sure, I am jaded by having chased down many a rabbit trail, only to find that those trails lead to more of the same worldly fluff that never satisfies. What I want to share with you is that there is something much better—the Kingdom of Heaven and all that it offers to a man or woman here on earth, even while we live our daily lives.

The problem with most people is that they feel alienated from God, almost as if they were His enemies. How in the world would a holy and righteous God stoop so low as to communicate directly with someone so unholy as I? And since we are His enemies, He must despise us so much that He would allow us to live miserable lives full of pain and sorrow. Have you ever thought something to that tune?

Here is the unvarnished truth about that “enemy” thing. God has made a way for every human being to not be God’s enemy, a condition that has existed since the Garden of Eden. Since Adam and Eve sinned, they thought that God now hated them, and they considered themselves to be His enemies. You know the story: they hid from God! So, since that moment, mankind has been attempting to hide from God. This reminds me of one of my dogs, who when she wants to hide she simply turns her back on whomever she is hiding from. She thinks I can’t see her. We are kind of the same way, aren’t we?

Back to God’s solution . . . the Bible says in Colossians:

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. (Colossians 1:21-23 NIV)

Notice that God’s word gives us the problem and the solution. Yes, we were alienated from God and we were enemies. The solution is that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sinfulness, and to make a way for us to not be enemies any longer. The only condition is that we must have faith that this good news is really true. We must simply believe that Jesus died for our sins and that God raised Him from the dead—that is the hope of the gospel. Notice that it says nothing about doing good things or about being perfect. It says nothing about measuring up to the church’s standards or changing the way we dress. We must simply have faith in the hope of the gospel!

That spirit-part of you is the center of your being. That’s the part of you that speaks when you are asleep through your deepest thoughts and dreams. It is also the part that listens to God when He speaks. If you can get in touch with that inner part of you, your spirit, then you can get in touch with God. Jesus said to the woman at the well:

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

Very simply, unless you know how to worship in Spirit and truth, you can’t hear what God has to say. Worship is a churchy word that basically means that you esteem God to be the greatest authority in the universe and that you respect Him for who He is. You desire to interact with Him, to hear what He has to say, and you agree to do your best to follow His instructions. After all, if God were indeed the smartest being in the universe, why on earth would we not want to follow Him and to do what He says? It’s actually kind of simple! We are spirits, made in God’s likeness, and we need to know how to live to our fullest potential. The One who made us knows best, and He is ready, willing and able to instruct us on every facet of this gift of life that He has graciously given us.

In fact, God said to His people through his prophet Jeremiah:

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3)

Regardless of what some have said to you in the past, God has already expressed to all of creation that He wants us to call to Him, and that He would answer us and tell us great and unsearchable things. It is very clear that God speaks to those who will listen to Him. That’s the key! We must be willing to humble ourselves enough to listen to what He has to say. We must be in the position of knowing that He knows better than we do; we must be teachable souls. If you are, then you are ready to listen to God and His leading.

Samuel, when he was a young boy, heard the voice of God calling him. He didn’t know what to do or say, so his mentor told Samuel to simply say:

“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

It’s really that simple. No, God may not speak to you in a voice audible to human ears. In fact, he probably won’t. What He will do is speak to you spirit-to-spirit. He has wired your spirit to hear what He, the Great Spirit God has to say, and for Him to hear you straight from the heart, from the spirit. Just like Samuel, simply quiet your heart and mind enough to hear from your Lord, and then say to Him, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”  And then just wait quietly for that still small voice of your Creator. He wants nothing more than to speak with you and to listen to you!

You may have observed lately that things are pretty rough out there. The economy is shaky, people are getting really testy—bordering on insane—and the weather is doing crazy things as well. Our politicians seem to be out of control, and worldwide politics can be downright scary. In fact, if you have been paying attention, you know that our world teeters on the edge of global depression and war.

During the day, you may have had flashes of despair. Just flashes. However, when you go to sleep at night, when it’s just you and no one else, when you hear nothing but your own breathing, you may feel very insecure, like you could fall forever from your shaky position. Your future is at risk in a world that used to be one of optimism and blessing. Now, we often feel very alone as we consider the future.

These are very normal feelings in this day and time. What I want to share with you is hope—Hope that is real and comforting in spite of everything the world is telling us.

I don’t want to get all religious on you, especially if that is something that you have been avoiding or running from. We all have stories of when we have felt let down by God or by the church or by the Christian community. That is all subject for another conversation. What I want to do is to relay to you the fact that God wants to speak with you directly, without anyone else in between you and Him. When you go to bed at night or when you wake up in the morning, God is longing to talk with you.

When I say that He wants to talk with you, I mean that He wants to hear your desires, your needs, your problems, your fears, your complaints and your frustrations. He wants to hear about your dreams and your nightmares. But even more importantly, he wants to say some things. He wants you to hear His desires for you and your life. He wants you to hear that He thinks a lot more of you than you do of yourself. He wants to allay your fears and soothe your frustrations. He wants to encourage you. He longs to tell you how much He loves you!

In this series of blogs, we will look at some very basic truths from God’s word concerning God’s desire to fellowship, or to interact with his most precious creation—His people. More than anything else in creation, the human being is made in the image of God. In Genesis 1 is written:

So God created mankind in his own image, 
in the image of God he created them; 
male and female he created them.

What does that mean? First of all, nothing else in all of creation looks like, acts like, thinks like and sounds like God more than a man or a woman. As much as we love our pets and wildlife, no dog, cat, deer or bird is wired to interact with God like we are. Next, nothing else in creation has the ability to have ideas, to create things, and to make willful decisions, other than you and me as human beings. He has given us the right to make decisions with our free will, the very thing that He does as well. Finally, and probably most important, is the fact that we are created to be spirits—just like Him. Again, in Genesis 2, it is written:

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Gen. 2:7)

Yes, God formed man and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. The Hebrew word for breath may also be translated as “spirit.” That means that we are spirits just as God is. We have eternal presence and impact on this universe. When our bodies die, we live on eternally. That’s what spirits do! You and I are more like God than we can ever appreciate this side of heaven.

To be continued in next post.