The Ultimate Friendship
A few years back while living in San Antonio, I had the good fortune to be a member of a church that embarked on a spiritual journey like none other I had taken. This journey was called The 40 Days of Purpose based on the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church in California. Two years later, I ventured on the journey once again but at that time I took it a step further by becoming a Host for a Small Group (I was a Participant in my previous journey). Now, again two years later, I’m a Participant on a smaller scale. My good friend, Wendee (http://bohemianadventures.blogspot.com), invited me to experience the journey with her again as a refresher. For the last two weeks, I have been on my adventure. This past week was spent learning about my first purpose – bringing enjoyment to God, living for HIS pleasure. Today, I provide you with my own insights from this week’s reading.
God wants to me to enjoy my life, not just endure it. Bringing pleasure to God is called “worship”. Many people believe that worship means soley what you do on Sunday’s in church. I used to believe that myself, until I looked at it from a different perspective. I discovered that anything I do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship. It doesn’t have to be huge, like a life-changing decision; it can be something small such as taking out the trash, cleaning the cat’s pan, smiling at a Hostess as you are seated at a restaurant. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I will admit that I sometimes forget NOT to complain if the toilet needs to be scrubbed but rather to just do it as an act of worship to Christ because He is the one who gave me the ability to use it as well as the actual possession of one after all, right?
Another insight I took from this week’s reading – a smile from God is the goal of my life. God smiles when we love Him supremely, trust Him completely, obey Him wholeheartedly, praise and thank him continually, and when we use our abilities. Warren gave the scenario of a parent as a parent watches a child sleeping:
“My children didn’t have to do anything for me to enjoy them. I was happy to just watch them breathing, because I loved them so much. As their little chests would rise and fall, I’d smile, and sometimes tears of joy filled my eyes. When you are sleeping, God gazes at you with love, because you were his idea. He loves you as if you were the only person on earth.” (The Purpose Driven Life; 2002)
When I read that passage in Warren’s book, it brought me joy. I don’t have children of my own but when I look at my husband sleeping, I’m reminded of the joy that he brings me daily. I, too, smile as I watch his chest rise and fall.
A third insight from this week – the heart of worship is surrender. That’s a tough one for any human being. Most of the time we think of surrender in terms of when a criminal surrenders to police or when “the other side” surrenders to end the war. That’s not what God means by surrendering to Him. God wants us to give ourselves to him, not out of fear or duty, but in love. To do that, we have to trust in Him completely. I have since learned to do that. Years ago, not so much! Today, yes, very much. Even when it doesn’t make any sense to me, I have to say, “Ok, God. If this is what you desire, I trust you.“ Sometimes, that is SO hard to do…but…it’s NOT impossible.
My final observation from this week – God wants to be MY best friend. How cool is that?! Warren says, “God planned the universe and orchestrated history, including the details of our lives, so that we could become his friends.” In the first week of the journey you learn that “It’s not about you”, that everything we do, everything we are, and everything we aim to be is for Him. He loves us and created us…he created me…to be HIS friend. WOW! If that isn’t the ultimate friendship, I don’t know what is. One of my favorite Bible verses is “If God be for us, who be against us?” Really. When you have God in your corner, you have the ultimate friend.
I could go on and on about the insights from Warren’s book but I’ll stop there for now. Points to ponder this week:
- Are you enjoying your life or just enduring it?
- Is God smiling on you?
- Have you truly surrendered to Him?
- Would you say that God is your best friend?
Pick up Rick Warren’s book and read it, if you haven’t already. It’s a life-changing journey. It really is.
Have a fantastically Blessed week!