Test of Friendship
Can I ask you a favor?
This question is a test of friendship. Will the strength of connection hold up in light of the request that is about to be made?
- Will you like my Facebook page? Low commitment. No real cost. Shouldn’t affect the relationship much.
- Will you buy my Prayer Quotes book? Low commitment. Small cost. May affect the relationship.
- Will you come on as a regular donor to this ministry? High commitment. High cost. Only a few relationships would survive.
A Friend Will Ask Things of You
Requests for favors are a normal part of relationships. People may not identify them as favors, but the requests made are just the same.
- Can you get me some drink while you are up?
- Can you make dinner for us?
- Can you drive us to the airport?
- Can you help me move?
- Will you marry me?
A Friend is Willing to Serve You
Each question is a test of the friendship. To say yes is to put yourself as a servant to the other person. You are doing what the other person wants. The fact you are doing it voluntarily is a sign of your friendship and love for that person.
True friendships will naturally have times of giving yourself to your friends’ wishes and desires. You trust their hearts enough to want to give them things that will help them out. At the same time, you know that they would also help you out when you need them. The fact that you both would willingly become the servant of the other for a time is a sign of the friendship.
Marriage Works When Both Submit
Marriage works the same way. It is only when both parties willingly become servants of the other, can the relationship last the difficulties of life. Someone watches the kids. Someone makes the meals. Someone gets the groceries. Someone gets a job to make money. Someone takes the car to the shop. This isn’t about gender roles, but who will take care of the things that need to be done.
Early in my marriage, I could only see what I was giving to the marriage. I hadn’t learned that love looks to serve the other. When you keep record, you lose sight of how the other person is serving you. I wasn’t getting the benefit of my acts of service because I wasn’t basing it out of my love for my wife.
Am I God’s Friend or Servant?
For a long time with my relationship with God, I saw the ways of relating to Him as stages you progressed through. You start off as a slave or servant of God than you work your way up to a friend or lover of God. I don’t think that is the way God sees it.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. – John 15:15
At first glance, this passage does sound like a progression. But, the question I now have is when did this progression take place. Is it something that we advance into, or is it something that was done at the cross? When does God start to make known to us things from the Father?
We have been given the Holy Spirit to remind us everything that Jesus taught (John 14:16). Therefore, since we have the Holy Spirit, Jesus considers us friends as soon as we turn to Him and receive the Holy Spirit. There is no progression.
God’s Friends Serve Him
You are my friends if you do what I command. – John 15:14
Still, we see that serving God is a part of being His friend. This servitude is not meant to be a ball and chain but a willful act of love and friendship. We are giving ourselves to His wants, needs, and desires because we want to be with Him and for Him to have what He wants.
God Serves His Friends
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. – John 14:14
Now, we see, friendship goes both ways. God is not looking to only have us serve Him, but in some ways, He makes Himself a servant of us. If we have wants, needs, or desires, He wishes that we would ask of Him. And, He says He will do what we ask.
Again, we need to see the source of the service. It is not from a standpoint of us commanding God, but as a friend telling their friend what is going on. We make our requests known because He loves us and cares for us.
Am I God’s Friend or Servant?
Am I God’s friend, or am I His servant? Yes, I am both. In order to be a friend, I will at times need to be a servant. This is how I need to view my relationship with God, but I also need this view of all my friends. Service is an expression of love to those we consider friends.
Servants may never see themselves as friends, but friends will at times make themselves a servant.