The Art of Spiritual Friendship: Glorifying God in Gospel Relationships

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.  Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.  There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

~ Psalm 19:1-4 ~

God is speaking is an accurate statement.  The creation of the world continues to pour out speech as surely as the universe is continually expanding.  When we are faced with the order, beauty, symmetry, and vastness of the universe we live in and the universes we are observing now through new technology, Scripture says, we are hearing the voice of God.  There is no speech in which His voice is not heard, no place on the earth where it does not ring out clearly.  What does this say about God as a being?

First, that He is a communicative person.  The idea that he speaks carries with it the idea that He can be heard and understood.  He wants to be known and we can know Him.  “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19,20)

The problem of the communication is not with the creator but with us.  That last phrase about us being “without excuse” is important.  Basically, because of our fallen-ness, the Bible says that we don’t want to hear, our ears have become muted to spiritual things, and we don’t want to be held responsible for our actions after hearing the voice of God. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (Romans 1:21-23)

When faced with being maliciously ignored by a broken, foolish, and idolatrous race, God sets about revealing himself all over again in a new way , one that we could not ignore and one that we could not say we didn’t hear.  This new revelation came first through His people in what we call the Old Testament.  There, recorded for us, are His interactions with them over a long period of time.  There we find the Law and Prophets.

Finally, when the time was just right, He sent His own Son, the incarnate God, Jesus Christ, the final and full revelatory expression of God.  This is how He is presented to us in the New Testament.  First, in Galatians we are told that, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4,5)  Then in Hebrews, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:1-3)

What then do we learn about being spiritual friends from God and the Gospel.  First, created in the image of God, you are a speaking being, and the ability to articulate your thoughts and feelings, to reveal yourself to others came from Him.  Second, and also like Him, you have a desire to be known.  Actually because you are broken, you need to be known.  Where God in perfection speaks to make himself known to His world, you, in brokenness, speak to become known in this world, both to yourself and to others.  Third, becoming known to others is a process that takes time.  God revealed himself for thousands of years to His people in little bite sized chunks, and thus, this is the manner in which you receive and walk with Him yourself.  Christianity is about becoming re-related to God, it is about a relationship with God and relationships take time.  The intricacies and depth of your being, reflective of the same in God, cannot possibly be known in one sitting.  So whether you are developing your friendship with God or a spiritual friendship with another person, faith, time and stability are important for the process.  Finally, since revelation can come “at many times and in many ways” be open to your ability to reveal yourself in different ways as well.  Through humor, little notes, long conversations, and sometimes just your presence says as much as is needs to be said.  Be careful not to mis-communicate, through actions and body language, or sometimes just by saying too much.

So what does all this look like in the real world?  Well since there are two sides to this coin, one being the development of your spiritual friendship with God, and the other being the development of a spiritual friendship with another believer, my next article will deal with the elements and themes common to both. Which are as follows: Person, Purpose, Time, and Forms of Communication.  Until then, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, AMEN.

5 thoughts on “The Art of Spiritual Friendship: Glorifying God in Gospel Relationships

    1. gracias my good man. I was tempted to writing but I figured 1000 words was enough. Steven Farris told me my blog was more like reading chapters in a book so I’m trying to keep that in mind

      1. Helpful indeed! I have been trying to make my posts 400 words or less. It may mean posting shorter posts more often, but I think in this Twitter culture folks struggle to digest long content. Keep it coming in whatever form though!

  1. Great post! It seems odd that the idea of developing spiritual friendships is new to me…and I’ve been in church my whole life. I’ve probably never experienced a relationship like this (with the exception of my husband). Another believer and I (I believe you know her quite well 😉 are beginning to study together, and have these kind of conversations. Funny how some other friendships are starting to feel empty. I have a whole new perspective on how beautiful a Christian friendship can be. Excited for the next post 🙂

    1. Yeah it was all I could do to stop writing where I did……….. maybe Sunday afternoon I’ll put another piece up on the series. Thanks for encouraging me with a comment, I really do hope these kinds of articles are helpful for people.

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