When it’s time for a change…

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Think back to the last big decision you had to make. Perhaps you have recently been engaged or married or divorced. Maybe you weathered a financial crisis or made a career change or had to redefine a relationship with a loved one. Do you remember how you felt while you were deciding what to do? For most of us, decision time is uncomfortable because we know that regardless of the choice we make, there will be consequences.

That’s not a big deal when we’re young and feeling invincible, but our stupid decisions add up over the years and create enormous pain for us and our loved ones. Then comes the denial and self-doubt and fear of consequences. At that point, some of us become very interested in hearing what God has to say about getting our life back on track.

If you’re a child of God who is struggling with the consequences of a poor decision and you want to hear God’s perspective, there’s good news: God also wants you to hear Him, and He hasn’t left that to chance. In John 14 Jesus promises, “I will not abandon you as orphans–I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

Jesus describes the most intimate relationship we could ever have. He’s not talking about sharing the same home or the same bedroom–he’s talking about sharing the same body. In verse 23 he says, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

This is God’s heart on the matter. He wants to take up residence inside each of us and cultivate a deep, satisfying relationship. Are you interested in that? A lot of us struggle to envision a God who wants that level of intimacy. It’s easier to think of God as a distant authority figure. Not necessarily a stern judge; many of us view God in a positive way–we see Him as a kind and thoughtful benefactor who did us an eternal favor.

But God doesn’t want that kind of relationship with us. He will accept the role of benevolent benefactor if that’s the only role we’ll offer Him, but a benefactor, no matter how kind or thoughtful, is not the same thing as a friend. And that’s who God wants to be to you–your friend. Not a mysterious benefactor, but your BFF, your best friend forever.

In John 15, Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

Take some time to reflect on what it could mean to have the creator of heaven and earth tell you, “I want to be your friend.” Imagine going on Facebook and finding a friend request from Jesus. Would you like to have the kind of relationship with Jesus that allows you to talk together like old friends?

In the coming weeks we will explore God’s provision for that–prayer. Meanwhile, consider God’s conditional promise in Isaiah 58. He tells His people that if they will obediently align themselves with His purposes, “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: ‘Here am I.’ …your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always. He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will restore your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

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