Friendship with God

Mark Renfroe

I have always felt a lack of friendship. I’m sure that comes with being an only child, at least in part; another part would simply be the world we live in where relationships are often conditional or situational. Even so, I have found that my concern about what people think of me and my desire for friendships has often led me to try too hard. I attempt to work for things that can only be given by the other person.

The wonderful part about friendship with God is that he knows me fully, loves me completely, and he’s the one who initiates the friendship. It doesn’t get better than that! Nevertheless, I have caught myself trying to “work for it.” 

For way too many years, I worked for fruitfulness in Christ. Okay, to be completely honest, I worked for success. Only after experiencing significant dissatisfaction did I realize that success and fruitfulness aren’t the same. People work for success. Some achieve it; others don’t. As God describes it, fruitfulness is the overflow of his work in our life. The branch doesn’t work to be fruitful. It just abides in the vine. If we abide in him, fully resting in the relationship he has extended to us, allowing his life-giving nourishment to flow into and through us, joyfully accepting his pruning, God will produce the fruit.

We don’t work to ‘earn’ the relationship; we don’t work to earn fruitfulness. 

Now please hear me: I’m not advocating against spiritual disciplines or making sure that we obey biblical commands. I’m simply saying that God’s friendship and the transformation that his presence brings into our lives is a free gift that we can’t earn or control. 

God gives us one more thing related to his friendship and fruitfulness: eternal life. Most Christians equate eternal life with going to heaven. It surely includes that, but it’s so much more. The Apostle John wrote, “this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3, ESV). We begin to know God here on earth; then in heaven, our knowledge of God will once and for all be perfect. 

Today, I hope you will sit and think on how God’s generosity affects your views of friendship, fruitfulness and eternal life. These three gifts should fill each one of us with not only incredible gratitude but also peace. 

Mark Renfroe and his wife, Amy, have been involved in field missions work for 30 years. Mark served as the area director for Assemblies of God World Missions and currently serves as the chief missions officer for World Challenge.