God Chooses Community with Us

I’m still exploring the second chapter of Invitation to the Jesus Life by Jan Johnson. The not-so-little-thing I’m turning over in my mind today is the fact that God calls each one of us a friend. You could spend hours considering just the small passage of John 15:13-16. The whole chapter could be pondered for much longer. The question that begs to be answered is simple, I suppose. Why me? (Why any of us, really?)

Have you ever wondered why God would choose to even associate with us at all? If you’ve read through The First Splash, et al, you’ve read about our little problem with waltzing right into relationship with God on our own terms. It just won’t work. The chasm between us isn’t navigable except in one way. Plain and simply, “No one comes to the Father except through me,” Jesus emphatically states; he is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6).

I understand the Father sent the Son, that the Son laid down his life, and that I now have a relationship with the Father by grace and through faith…and it’s all because of Jesus (Ephesians 2:8). I know I’ve been given the gift of the person of the Holy Spirit to live within me, teach me, counsel me, and to seal me for the Day of Redemption (John 14:26; Ephesians 4:30).

But…why?

Why would a perfectly holy, just, almighty God have anything to do with perfectly imperfect, selfish, weak, strong-willed me? Even in my best moments, most of what I do just isn’t all that impressive. I can’t make even a very small tree…let alone a small forest, mountain, planet, or red dwarf star. (Anyone making any progress in these areas? I could use a little help.)  😉  The fact is, in comparison to the God who created every known and unknown thing in the universe, we all are pretty small, weak, and helpless.

So, why would God want to establish relationship with us? In fact, why make us at all? He doesn’t need us. He exists in community by his very nature, so he isn’t in need of our company. He doesn’t need our words, actions, thoughts, or worship. “He is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:25). If God doesn’t need us, then he must have another reason for creating the universe, everything in it, and each and every one of us. If not need…then what?

I think we find some answers to this in surprising places:

  • Genesis 1 recounts our God, who by very nature is a Creator, creating…and it is good.
  • Genesis 1 states that mankind is made in his image (v. 26-27).
  • Mankind is blessed and given dominion over everything in the creation (1:28-30).
  • The Creator is glorified in all that he does and by the very existence of all he creates.

Genesis 3 recounts the rebellion against the God who made the perfect world and lovingly placed the people in it–rebellion against the God who loved, cared for, and walked and talked with the people in their perfect world. This leads right into “We all, like sheep, have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6).

And God’s answer to this rebellion against him is…his Son slowly, purposefully, and painfully making his way with a rough, wooden crossbeam to Golgotha. The answer to the rebellion is “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16, emphasis mine).

It’s not that he needs. It’s that he loves!

We are friends of God because, out of the greatest love we will ever know, Jesus laid down his life for us (John 15:13, Romans 5:8). If we obey his commands, we are his friends (John 15:14). We are friends because Jesus made known to us everything he learned from the Father (John 15:16). He loved us (1 John 4:10)!  He loved us first (1 John 4:19). If we know love at all, or if we are able to show love at all, it’s the result of the love he has for us and has shown us.

I have a good friend with whom I talk regularly, and she is often a sounding board for me (for which I am grateful). When I asked her to think about this with me for a minute, she helped me get to something simple. He’s more than the Creator. It’s a “love covers” thing. The love isn’t conditional. That’s why looking for exact reasons will always lead to some problems. Our kind of love is conditional, always looking for reasons to respond in love. God’s love is completely unlike that.

I’m opting for accepting the love, being glad for it, and hoping to grow to love him back with everything I’ve got by the help of the Spirit. And you?

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2 Responses to “God Chooses Community with Us”

  1. P* Says:

    Mmm! Awesome, J*…awesome!:o)

  2. Jennifer Says:

    You know what really blew me away? I searched to see the usage of ‘friend’ and ‘friends’ in the New Testament…by Jesus. I encourage anyone to search it and see who Jesus spoke to using this term of endearment. Wow.

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