When I was in college I studied American and English literature and as you can guess, I had to read a lot of books. At about that same time, I had also become a Christian and so alongside all of the novels I had to read, I obviously began to read the Bible. Because I was reading so many stories for my classes at that time, I think I naturally began reading the Bible the same way—I began reading it as my story. Being the new Christian that I was, the Bible came alive to me and I soaked up all of the words it had for me and I began to personalize them—they were words for me.
During this time, one day, as I was waiting for a class to begin, I randomly opened up my Bible and began reading. I started reading the fifteenth chapter of John and about midway through it; I came upon a verse that caught my attention like no other passage had before.
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 the Father I have made known to you.
I will never forget that moment. Sitting at my desk and waiting for class, I realized for the first time that God wanted to be my friend. You have to understand that I did not grow up in the church, and therefore, everything I was learning from the Bible and from others was all new to me. That God desired to be friends with us was literally earth-shattering information for me at that time.
Ever since that day, this has been the verse for my life and has not only altered how I looked at God, but also changed how I view my own life. God desires a friendship with little ole me? On some level this must mean that I am fairly special and a valued creation of his. With the reading of this passage, it began to transform a faith that was based on what I did to who I was—I am Jesus’ friend. With this nuance, I for the first time began to understand grace not just up in my head, but I began to personalize what a genuine relationship with God could look like—a friendship.