Jesus, My Friend? {Bring Good News}

Sunday, Jan 27.  5:55PM. My pastor, Tom, asks:

“Will God ever love you more than He loves you right now?”

A rhetorical question, yes.  But one worth considering. Will He love me more than He loves me right now?

I know full-well He loves me at this moment.  He has to, right?  He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins.  That sort of obligates Him to His Word, doesn’t it?  But what I don’t know is whether He will love me more tomorrow than he loves me today.

This Christian journey.  It’s supposed to transform me into the likeness of Christ.  Sanctify me and renew my mind. Doesn’t that mean I’ll be a more love-able Christian at some point in the future?  Won’t God love me more as an expert wilderness navigator or a bold sojourner into the Promised Land than He does right now as a feeble follower of Christ?

As if reading my mind, Pastor Tom continues.

“Do you think God really enjoys you? Like the friend that ‘gets you’.  The one who laughs at all your jokes and understands your intentions despite your words or actions.”

Likes me?  I don’t even like my own children sometimes.  How can I expect God to actually like me?

The idea of God hanging out on my lanai (and yes, I know it’s called a porch in Virginia.  But I sorta like the Hawaiian expression…it brings back good memories).  The idea of God hanging out on my lanai with a warm cup of coffee floors me.  God?  A dear friend effortlessly laughing over my joys and crying over my struggles?  Why is it so much easier to accept this kind of friendship from gals like Gigi or Kate than it is to accept Jesus as my friend?  How can He be the lover of my soul, and yet not even be my friend?

A few weekNotes6s ago at a Sunday service, Tom told a story about a piano maestro who begrudgingly endured the recital of his fledgling student.  “Oh, great,” he sarcastically huffed as the child’s feeble composure and missed notes betrayed her anxiety.

Many of us see God as the piano maestro – an expert  begrudgingly enduring our pathetic performances.  Sarcastically patronizing our best efforts. Scoffing at our inability.

But in reality, God is more like the father secretly returned from a drawn-out deployment just to attend his little girl’s first piano recital.  His eyes sparkle as she enters the stage.  His grin widens as she takes a deep breath, wishing her Daddy could be there, but knowing He’s thinking about her from some far away place she can’t pronounce.  His heart melts as his little girl plucks out her hard-won, albeit simple, piece from memory.  He can almost hear His own words echoing through her mind, “Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do it unto the Lord.”

Notes2

No.  God is not the piano maestro.  He’s the Daddy who traveled great distances just to be with his princess.  He’s the devoted father who is not appalled at our pathetic performances, but rather proud of his child’s first steps towards amazing.  He really enjoys us.  Could I say, He even likes us?

John 16 tells us, “the Father himself loves you because you have loved me [Jesus] and have believed that I came from God.”

Notes1

There is nothing we can do to earn His love.  There is no inability we can overcome to gain righteousness. There is no performance we can master to win His approval.  There is no standard of excellence we can attain to secure our standing with God.  He loves us because we have loved His Son and believed His Son came from Him.  There is nothing left to do, but to receive Jesus, the gift of Grace in the flesh.

Notes4

So God does sit at our recitals like a doting father because He is a doting Father.  When God spies me upon the stage, anxious and fretting about my performance, He sees only His Son, Jesus.  When I forget my music and the melody of my life hits an unpleasant note, He sees only Jesus.  The Father himself loves me, enjoys me even (!) because God only has eyes for his Son and that’s who He sees when he looks at me.  His Son who covers me in perfect Grace.  What a friend I have in Jesus.

Might I Pray for Us?

Dearest Jesus,

You are perfect.  Perfect Peace.  Perfect Freedom.  Perfect Life.  We confess that we search for our peace anywhere else but in You.  We try to gain our freedom through any other means but You.  We live our life any other way, but with You, in You, and for You.  Thank you that you haven’t given up on us.  Thank you that you love us so much you died on the cross for our sins, and for our laughter and for our tears.  Show us how to be-friend You, Jesus.  How to invite you onto our lanai and let your perfect life cover our perfect sins.  In your holy name we pray.

Amen.

Notes of Encouragement

The Love of God – Mercy Me.  Trinity Presbyterian Church in Kailua, HI rocked this song on the harmonica and ukulele.  While I can’t share that performance with you, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this more mellow rendition by Mercy Me.

‘Tis So Sweet – Jadon Lavik.  ‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus…oh for Grace to trust Him more.

Words of Affirmation

We are for more wicked than we ever dared believe, yet more loved than we ever dared hope.  Not self-conscious nor self-confident, a Christian is liberated to be self-forgetful.

– Tim Keller, Ministries of Mercy

Photo Credits 1,2,3,4

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