YHWH….the Jewish people long ago wouldn’t even write out Yahweh’s name. They shortened it this way to honor Him.
Do I revere the Lord so much that I hesitate to write even His name down? I’ve spent a lot of time really understanding that God wants me to think of Him as a Friend. What an amazing privilege! But equally challenging is really getting how holy and overwhelmingly unique God is.
I think it can be obvious which end of this spectrum I’m leaning toward by how I live day to day. When I think of Him mostly as a Friend, and less as the holy God of the Universe, I notice I get more lax about living like my body is His temple. I don’t eat right as much or exercise as I need to, and it really doesn’t bother me. I can put so much off until tomorrow. He understands, right!? Friends understand.
When I focus primarily on God as my Friend and not so much on Him as the Lord of Heaven and Earth, I really enjoy that God’s love is not about what I do. I know God wants true heartfelt worship and obedience, not checklists. But loving God is knowing Him better – which I do by spending time with Him, studying His Word, praying His will is accomplished. Doing these things doesn’t make Him love me more or less, but they have a huge impact on the depth of my relationship with Him. How close are you to a friend you never see, talk to, or check in with? Not too close, right? So does God understand when we skip our daily disciplines and just “go with the flow”?
What about church attendance and participation in groups and events with my Christian brothers and sisters? God cares about me resting and not just being busy. Summer seems a great time to focus on catching up on things, taking a break, chillin’. If I try hard for 8 or 9 months of the year being involved at church, it seems He’d understand if I take the summer or chunks of the year off, right? Friends understand we need breaks after all.
But when I look at it all together like this, I am expecting God to understand an awful lot, aren’t I!? Am I making any effort if I take a break from all of these things for weeks, months, years? Now it seems more like I have no time for Him, that He’s not even making the top 10 of my priorities.
I read Hebrews 10 and feel very convicted that our Christian life is one that we are to live in a holy and intentional way.
Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living wayopened for us through the curtain,that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to Godwith a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
The Bible tells us exactly how God wants us to live. God is merciful and He absolutely understands us. Which means He also understands when we are making excuses, being lazy, selfishly pursuing our own plans or just plain not caring about Him.
We are meant to serve God wholeheartedly 24/7, 365. In doing so, He provides the rest we need. Our daily time with Him refreshes our spirit and strengthens our faith. We don’t give up meeting with our brothers and sisters because we all need one another. We need accountability. We need words of encouragement and correction. We need consistent practice learning to be vulnerable, forgiving, and gracious. If you are like me, you fade away from these things without purposefully pursuing them
My body needs to be treated like His temple always because that’s what it is. Whatever I need to do to be healthy and feel my best, able to be an energetic servant of my Lord, needs to happen.
He understands our struggles but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t expect our obedience. So, God is definitely my understanding Friend, your understanding Friend. No doubt there. But to be more accurate, He is our understanding, holy, almighty, all-powerful, perfectly loving Friend. The only one I would perish if I were to look directly at His magnificence. The Friend that created this world, the universe, me, the way of salvation, the heaven we will live in for all eternity. The Friend that has a purpose for our lives that we can either cooperate with or fight against. The Friend that deserves 100% of my faithfulness, 100% of my love, 100% of my time and energy. Yep, that’s my Friend!
What a Friend We Have in Jesus Lyrics
What a friend we have in Jesus
, All our sins and griefs to bear
. And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer.
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
, Oh, what needless pain we bear
. All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
. Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
? Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
. Take it to the Lord in prayer.