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FRIEND OR SERVANT

There’s no doubt that God has given the Spirit Tribe an incredible, life-altering assignment to go into ALL the nations, proclaiming and demonstrating the Gospel of the Kingdom. And yet, we’ll only be impactful to the degree that we maintain friendship with God as an absolute priority. Of course, there’s a sense in which the mission and friendship He’s invited us to are very much connected. But, unless the task flows out of friendship, we’ll always fall short of what God is really after.

While filling out an application for a missions trip back in my college days, there was one question that really impacted me.  It simply asked, “Is your joy in loving God or serving God?” The problem is that when we put the task before our friendship with God, there’s a natural drift in our relationship with Him away from intimacy to servanthood.  But Jesus isn’t looking for servants… He’s looking for friendship.

In John 15, Jesus said, “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.”  You see, unlike a friend, a servant isn’t expected to have a heart-connection with his or her master… if they’re asked to jump, they’re not expected to ask “why?” but rather, “how high?”  And so, servants will always remain task-focused. Instead of defining themselves by their relationship with God, they will define themselves by their assignment.

Even though Abraham and Moses were given monumental tasks, their missional callings always flowed from their relationship with God.  That’s why Abraham was called a friend of God in James 2:23. It’s why we’re told in Exodus 33:11 that “the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.”

According to John 15, Jesus’ anointing to “bring Good News to the poor… to proclaim freedom for the captives, to give sight to the blind, to set the oppressed free…” was motivated first and foremost in friendship. “There is no greater love,” he wrote, “than laying down one’s life for a friend.”  And so, motivated by friendship, Jesus laid down His life so we all could all become “friends of God.”

You see, what’s going to change the world isn’t a tribe of servants carrying out a monumental task. Rather, it is a Holy Spirit-empowered Tribe of Jesus-friends who are passionate about declaring this love relationship to all the peoples of the world.  This is no small thing. For us to really change the world, what has to motivate us… what has to fulfill and inspire us… is Jesus.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Truth is, there are times when I find myself motivated by the mission.  I usually know I’m there when I find myself complaining a whole lot about how hard or how big the job is. It’s then that I’ll often realize that I’m spending a lot more time on the task and far less time pursuing Jesus as my friend. It’s easy to miss… because I’m still coming to Jesus… but I’m coming to Him for help with the task rather than for the sheer delight of friendship with God.

Someone once said that ours is the only army that advances on its knees.  Of course, while that speaks specifically to prayer, it equally relates to friendship. Guys, what’s going to change the world isn’t so much our resolve to the Mission of God… but our ever-deepening passion for the One who’s called us to the mission.  So, as a movement of young adults in the Vineyard, let’s make friendship with God our passion and priority as we go and make Jesus the hero of the nations. Let’s always allow ministry & mission to flow out of intimacy & friendship with Jesus.  What do you think??