This is a profound question for the believer. How can I know if I am Father’s friend? Do I have to hear his voice from a cloud declaring such? Are my shortcomings an impediment to friendship with Abba? Is it even possible to be regarded as his friend, and not just his son or daughter?
These are just some of the questions that can swirl through our minds as we contemplate the question posed in the title.
Let me settle the swirl straight away! What matters is Abba’s opinion, not our own perceptions. He calls you his friend, because Jesus has done so. When did Jesus call you his friend? The moment you desired to entwine your heart with his! Jesus announced to his disciples that
Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. [John 14:23]
The desire of Jesus and the Father is to “take up residence” with those who love them, with the obvious implication of entwinement of their hearts with the believer. This is one of the hallmarks of close friendship.
A friend of Jesus is a friend of the Father, because Jesus is the exact representation of the Father. [See Hebrews 1:3] He explicitly said to Philip:
Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. [John 14:9]
It will not change reality if you claim to be unqualified to be Father’s friend. Your desire for entwinement of your heart with his (e.g., your love for him!) is sufficient, and it trumps all your imperfections that you might list for disqualification.
So, let your heart be settled from any swirling in your mind. Receive your status as a friend of the Father, because his desire is stronger than your shortcomings.
Keeping this in mind, you can gain encouragement as you consider some of the fruit of this glorious, loving, friendship with Abba and that will serve to help you deepen your friendship with him because love begets more love!
–Steve Trullinger, July 2022