Nickelback once sang a song about the desire to be a rock star. It was a big hit for them, apparently because it struck a nerve. It seems rock stars live the life many of us want to live. Would it surprise you to find out there were rock stars in Jesus’ day who people wanted to be like? They looked different from today’s variety and were definitely called by different names…priests…rabbis. The rabbis in particular had their pick of the people desiring to be their most devoted followers, and they only picked the cream of the crop.
Imagine the surprise everyone must have felt when a young rising star named Jesus picked a few unschooled fishermen and other assorted riff raff to be His closest followers! And imagine the greater shock when Jesus said these words to them. “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). I think it’s just as surprising to people today to hear how Jesus calls each of us into the same kind of intimate relationship with God, whether or not you qualify for rock star status. I’ve discovered this for myself.
God is chasing each of us, no matter who we are, so we can know Him fully as our friend, and become fully alive in Him. What a far cry from a religion based on a bunch of rules! God wired us to crave relationships with people so we would see how we’re primarily wired for a relationship with Him, which begins through faith in Jesus. Like all relationships, a friendship with God comes with an expectation of mutual response. In other words, as Jesus reveals in John’s account of His life, God wants us to chase Him as well. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (John 15:9).
These are such simple words, yet they seem hard to experience. Let’s be honest. We live our lives at such a fast pace, we make the speed of sound look like power walking. We rarely take the time necessary to remain in the love Jesus offers and grow to know God intimately. But this is exactly what it means to have eternal life (John 17:3). And we primarily experience a growing intimacy with Him through disciplines like prayer and reading the Bible in the unique, individual ways God designed for each of us to discover (for more info on this, check out Gary Thomas’ website and his book Sacred Pathways by clicking here), as well as living in authentic community with each other.
You don’t have to be a spiritual rock star to live in deep connection with God and experience a life you never thought possible. Every day, God lovingly extends His hand of friendship out to you through trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection on your behalf. Don’t let the days slip by without taking the time to reach out and grab it, and hold on through the practice of the spiritual disciplines. Otherwise, the days may turn into years, and the years into decades, until you find yourself at the end of your life, wishing you had done things differently. Live fully alive in the now. Make time for the important relationships, especially the one with God.