Thursday, May 26, 2011

Friend of God

How does an acquiantance become a friend? What changes in this process?

In the Letter of James, during a discussion of the importance of 'action' accompaniying 'having beliefs' about God, James states that Abraham combined these two elements and thus became a 'friend of God'.

There seem to be plenty of people who hold opinions (beliefs) about God, but fewer who practice a faith. Might good evangelism thus have something to do with helping people move from acquiantance with (the idea of) God, to becoming friends with God?

Friendship of course involves matters such as noticing an initial commonality between me and another (beer-making, a love of art...); it them builds upon this by making time to discover more about the other (both the differences to me as well as the similarities). Finally it grows into common goals and decisions (small or large) about sharing a future, journeying together.

This final stage is essential. An aquaintance may have much in common with me, but unless our stories are somehow voluntarily allowed to interact with each other, such that we are mutuallly changed, then I think genuine friendship has not yet come to fruition.

If James is correct all of this would be transferable by analogy to the growing of relationships with God, too.

The Letter to James is, of course, not the only place in scripture when friendship with God is mooted. Famously John's Gospel describes Jesus as saying 'I do not consider you servants, but friends'.
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