The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren—A
Chapter 12—Developing Your Friendship with God
A Christian always has options in the development of his friendship with God.
He may be as close to God as he chooses to be—since He was created in the
image of God, he was empowered to make the decision to accept God’s gift of
salvation; and, he is empowered to exercise choice, which should be governed
by the following six secrets of friendship with God:
Constant conversation with God. Covered
in Chapter 11.
Continual meditation with God. Covered
in Chapter 11.
Complete honesty with God.
Perfection is not required by God of His
children; complete honesty is required! The matter of “perfection” in order
to approach and reside in the presence of God is taken care of by the
sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, but the matter of the quality of the
relationship between a believer and the Father rests in the will and efforts
of the believer. God expects his children to be brutally honest regarding the
expression (to Him) of their faults and feelings at all times. There are
numerous examples within the Bible of God’s children conveying to God their
feelings, doubts and complaints in an honest and straight-forward fashion. In
fact, the book of Psalms has catalogued every possible emotion in
regards to this issue.
Christians often harbor deep-seated and tacit
(unspoken) resentments against God regarding a variety of issues (past hurts,
their appearance, “unanswered” prayers, etc.), which may be eliminated if they
will just come to the understanding that God uses everything for good
in their lives. Bitterness is the greatest barrier to friendship with God and
is unnecessary if one will realize that God always acts in His
children’s best interest. To approach God personally with one’s doubts is
often the first step in spiritual healing and a closer friendship with Him.
Faith-based obedience with God.
All parent-child relationships entail faith-based
obedience. Often it is necessary for the child to follow the parent’s
instructions even though he doesn’t have all the facts and does not understand
the reasons for the directions. It is no different in the relationship
between God and His children. But unlike unbelievers, who only understand
obedience stemming from obligation, guilt or fear; Christians obey because of
their confidence (trust, faith) in God’s love for them and in the knowledge
that God knows what is best for them.
God considers all acts performed for him,
regardless of size, that are executed in the proper attitude of love and
gratitude as worship. Expressions of God’s love and gratitude in many small
acts of sharing God’s kindness and love toward others will outweigh the
infrequent “great conquests” performed for God.
The Bible reveals almost nothing regarding Jesus
prior to His introduction to His earthly ministry at His baptism, except to
say that He lived obediently with His earthly parents (Luke 2:51)—and
because of this, God the Father stated emphatically that He was pleased
with Him at His baptism.
Embracing God-based values.
Friendship deepens between individuals who care
about and share the same things. This is true of the relationship between God
and His children. But there are two priorities that God most cares
about and would have His children value as He does—first, the death of His Son
and its meaning; and second, believers sharing this death and its meaning with
Earnestly desiring friendship with God.
Friendship with God must be the Christian’s first
priority—it must become a passion. Although such passion may ebb and flow
throughout the Christian experience, God will never give-up on desiring a deep
and abiding friendship with each one of His children. Any one of His children
who have “fallen away” (not the loss of one’s salvation, which can
never happen) may always make the choice to confess (own up to) his
sins (1 John 1:9) and request passion-restoration.
“You are as close to God as you choose to be.” (pg. 92)
“God doesn’t expect you to be perfect, but He does insist on complete
honesty.” (pg. 92)
“Genuine friendship is built on disclosure. What may appear as audacity
God views as authenticity.” (pg. 94)
“God listens to the passionate words of His friends; He is bored with
predictable, pious clichés.” (pg. 94)
“Expressing doubt is sometimes the first step toward the next level of
intimacy with God.” (pg. 95)
“We obey God, not out of duty or fear or compulsion, but because we love
Him and trust that He knows what is best for us.” (pg. 95)
“Because we have been forgiven and set free, we obey out of love—and our
obedience brings great joy!” (pg. 95)
“His [Christ’s] relationship with His Father is the model for our friendship
with Him [the Father].” (pg. 96)
“True friendship isn’t passive; it acts.” (pg. 96)
“We are often challenged to do ‘great things’ for God. Actually, God
is more pleased when we do small things for Him out of loving obedience.” (pg.
“Great opportunities may come once in a lifetime, but small opportunities
surround us every day.” (pg. 96)
“God treasures simple acts of obedience more than our prayers, praise, or
offerings.” (pg. 96)
“The dearest thing to the heart of God is the death of His Son. The second
dearest thing is when His children share that news with others.” (pg. 97)
“The truth is—you are as close to God as you choose to be. Intimate
friendship with God is a choice, not an accident.” (pg. 98)
“God is not mad at you; He’s mad about you, and He will do whatever it
takes to bring you back into fellowship with Him.” (pg. 98)
Proverbs 3:32; James 4:8; Matthew 11:19; Job
42:7b; Exodus 33:1-17; 12-17; Job 7:17-21; Psalm 83:13; Jeremiah 20:7; Ruth
1:20; Psalm 142:2, 3a; John 15:14; 9-11; 1 Samuel 15:22; Matthew 3:17; 2
Corinthians 11:2; Psalm 69:9; 27:4; 63:3; Genesis 32:26; Philippians 3:10;
Jeremiah 29:13; 1 Timothy 6:21a.
As the correct choice (to receive Jesus Christ by faith) is key to salvation,
correct choices are key to developing a more genuine and passionate friendship
with God. Choosing to be totally honest with God, to be obedient within the
parameter of faith, to adopt God-based values, and to exercise a genuine
desire to achieve greater friendship with Him are all keys to achieving a deep
and significant friendship with Him.