This post is from a larger series under the category Friend to Jesus. It is a detailed exploration of the three stages of faith: the believer, the servant and the friend of God. If you want to start at the beginning, it begins with the post How Looking at a Caravaggio Painting Can Change Your Life and then continues chronologically.
The Jews would not willingly tread upon the smallest piece of paper in their way, but picked it up; for possibly, they say, the name of God may be on it. S. T. Coleridge
Your friend is the man who knows all about you and still likes you. Elbert Hubbard
I can sometimes spot the person who is just a believer, because I myself was one. I remember that period in my life well and I can see myself in the people I meet who really are only going through the motions when it comes to their relationship with God. Our words, our actions, the very way we live life are all the same. They, inevitably, give us away. Another one of those characteristics is that believers have a hard time talking about God. They usually talk about him impersonally. This makes sense—because in reality, they are distant to him; their relationship is immature and just beginning. For those who have recently come into a relationship with God, this is natural. They might know little about the Bible and nearly nothing about how to live this new life. Simply put, most likely, they know zilch about how to do this Christian thing. It’s no different than if you got to know me. At first you would know very little about me—what I like to do, what makes me happy or sad, what I like and don’t like. Because of this, your commitment to me would be limited and maybe lackluster. As time went on, as you got to know me better, your commitment level would grow as would mine toward you.
We can sometimes discern a person’s commitment level just by listening to them. The way they talk can give them away. The mere way in which a person speaks about God might tell you about their relationship with him. One obvious sign is this—often for the believer, God to this person is simply “God.” He’s usually not Jesus or Lord or Father or anything else. He’s God. The very name they call him is generic because their relationship with him is as well. Believers often just refer to him as God because their relationship with him is not personal. It’s vague and distant. The majority of the time, it’s not very real. How we talk about a person can often tell us what our relationship is like with them. For instance, listen to how people talk about their parents. Do they refer to them as mom, mommy, mother, by their first name (e.g., Elizabeth) or by no name? The way in which they refer to their parents might tell us about their relationship to them—whether it is distant or close. Another example might be when we refer to someone by their title rather than their name. Is it Mrs. Johnson or do you call her Joan? The latter style usually reveals that the relationship is closer and more intimate. You know Joan better, and are able to call her by her “real” name.
It’s no different than with our relationship with God. Granted, God has many names that we can refer to him by, but it is also a truth that some names are more intimate than others. I can remember early on in my journey as a Christian just saying the word ‘Jesus’ was uncomfortable. The name came out of my mouth as if I had a big tongue and I couldn’t talk right. Why was this? Simply because I didn’t have the relationship to speak of him with such a personal and intimate name, and therefore, it came out wrong and awkward. How do you talk about him? What’s his name for you? How do you refer to God in your life? This may be a determiner in how real and intimate that relationship is.
In: Friend to Jesus