In your spiritual experience, do you consider yourself more as a slave to religion, or as a friend of God?
Your answer to this question may determine your happiness in this life, and even your eternal destiny.
During the walk from the upper room to the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said the following to his disciples:
“You are my friends if you do what I command. 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. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you…” (John 15:14-16, NIV).
Jesus is using language from the royal court. In a royal court there were two groups of people. There were the slaves and there were the king’s friends. The difference between the slaves and the king’s friends was that the slaves did what they did for a reward: basically hanging out hoping that the king might notice them and give them a trinket or some kind of reward for their excellent slavery.
But the king’s friends, they are different. The king’s friends are part of the inner circle. They are the beloved of the king. They are always close to him. That’s why Jesus says in verse 16: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you… so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”
But Jesus isn’t looking for slaves. He is looking for friends.
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Leave Your Slave Mentality Behind
Most people struggle to believe that God wants to be their friend. But Jesus emphasises that we are his friends not because we are good enough, but because he chose us. Even more than that, he has “appointed” us to be his friends. That word is a word that has official connotations, like for example, to the decree of a king.
A king in ancient times had two kinds of people in the royal court. A king had servants, who were actually basically slaves. Slaves obeyed the king for either punishment or reward. But the friends of the king were different. The king shared his life with them. They obeyed the king because he loved them. They were his chosen friends.
When did Jesus choose you to be his friend? Incredibly, it was literally ages before you were even born! “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world.” (Ephesians 1:4, NIV).
That’s when you were chosen to a friend of God! When were you appointed?
God was pleased… through him [Christ] to reconcile to himself all things… by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies… 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 (Colossians 1:19-22, NIV).
You were appointed to be a friend of God at the Cross, when Jesus gave his life for you.
It’s time for you to leave your slave mentality behind, and embrace the friendship that Jesus offers you.
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez. About the Author: Dr Eli Gonzalez is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question.