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i jus' wanna be your friend



Mark recounts a story of himself and the other disciples getting upset with some parents who were bringing their children to Jesus. In their insensitivity they tried to turn the parents and children away, but Jesus turned the tables on them, saying, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”


A number of years ago while still actively involved in children’s ministry, having given up music, I was processing what childlike faith actually looks like. What does it mean to come to Him as a child?


I thought it to be an important question, seeing as though, according to Jesus, my entry into the Kingdom of God depends on it! Not only that, but the Kingdom of God actually belongs to those who have childlike faith, so it was worth discovering.


Holy Spirit showed me the colour blue, and asked me, “Darrin, what colour is that?”


“It’s blue!” I said in return. And to which He asked another question.


“When, and how, did you learn that that is blue?”


Immediately I began to recognize that childlike faith was the ability to accept things without question, fully trusting.


I learned the colour blue as a child, and when learning it, I never questioned nor analyzed what I was being taught, nor the one teaching me. I simply heard it, received it, believed it, and lived it. It was so powerful in my young life, that it has influenced the whole of my life since, and to this day, blue is still blue! Imagine.


Surrendering to I AM as my Father, meant surrendering to myself as His child, and therefore, childlike faith was beneficial to find all over again, for now and into eternity.

 

All Grown Up - With no Place to go


In the pursuit of an academically accurate Christianity, there are now over forty-five thousand denominations worldwide, and according to Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor emeritus of church history at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, ”There's never been a united Christianity,”. Ouch!


Upon first reading that statement I became defensive, and you may be feeling that way too, right now. But as I dialled down my initial response and analyzed it further, it became apparently true.


We’ve become all grown up now, and our human intellect, a controllable and quantifiable source, has replaced intimacy with Holy Spirit, an uncontrollable and unpredictable source. And often, for those of us who do have Holy Spirit intimacy, it’s only within the confines of our intellectually established parameters.


Leaders with degrees and doctorates have become elevated in our spiritual esteem, resulting in us common folk inadvertently believing that we must place our faith in whatever they teach from their various platforms. After all, they know better because they are more educated.


This has spilled over into the fear that if we entertain something outside of our religious establishments, or question anything within them, we could somehow damage our righteousness; or get “it” wrong and upset God, and, if it’s bad enough, maybe even lose our salvation.


Spiritual ignorance, disunity, and division, have now become rooted in and among us - the very opposite of what Jesus said would happen when Holy Spirit fills us. With no place to go, we are driven back to degrees and doctorates in search of truth once more - the circle becoming viscous and consuming, and our pursuit of that life changing moment with God, elusive.


A Friend of God


I spoke about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the last post, and how their worship influenced their walk of life. Now let’s go back a few more years from them to Abraham, a man who became known as a friend of God; and, to the very first mention of the English word worship that we read in the Bible. Before we do that, though, let’s remind ourselves of what worship is, so that we can apply it to these next stories.


Our worship is, simply, our heart’s willful submission to the Deity of our choosing.


Now with that in mind, Abraham is asked by God to perform a certain task; so he takes his sound system, a generator, some lights, and a smoke machine, (yeah, he really did take a smoke machine) along with his son, Isaac, and his team. When they arrive at the bottom of the mountain, Abraham leaves the rest of the team there, and says to them; “We [he and Isaac] are going to worship, and we will return.”


“Oh worship leader!” they replied in surprise, “How are you going to lead us from up there? How loud should we play? What songs are we doing? Oh, and by the way, the drummer is really happy today, because we didn’t bring his cage!”


That’s not what happened! It doesn’t make sense. You can go to the book of Genesis and read the real story - it’s worth the read, it’s beautiful.


What Abraham actually said to his two servants, when we read that word worship, was that he and Isaac were going to bow down - šāḥâ. But we also know, by reading the rest of the account, that they didn’t even do that physically. So what was he really saying?


Abraham was well acquainted with the spirit realm and gods, since his father was a spiritist and deeply involved in the occult; but amidst all of that, and I believe because of that, I AM revealed Himself to Abraham. In response, Abraham’s heart decided that I AM was the only true God, and right there his worship was established, and it remained throughout his life.


What Abraham said to his servants was simply an expression of his heart's predetermined submission to I AM, and what the servants witnessed was his obedience.


Less convoluted with theological possibilities, is another example from Abraham’s life, and from which we can simplify this even more.


We know that Isaac lived, and that I AM provided a ram for the sacrifice, and now, years later, it was time for him to be married. Abraham called his oldest and most trusted servant, and then sent him to go and find Isaac a wife. By this time Abraham’s worship of God was so deeply entrenched in his heart, that it had evidently spilled over to his staff, too. This is the leaven effect which, later, Jesus would speak about, and which has now, in recent years especially, begun to transform the hearts of millions of people around the world.


When the senior servant found Rebekah and discovered that she was the wife for Isaac, the Bible uses the word worship, again, in past-tense, when the servant later recounts his experience to Abraham. “And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master's brother's daughter unto his son.”


The actions of the servant were simple, but it wasn’t his actions that were considered worship. And, God Himself had not asked anything of the servant, so even obedience could not be misconstrued as worship. Like Abraham, the position of his heart in relation to I AM was his worship, and his response was simply to bow his head.


Our heart’s willful acknowledgement of the deity of I AM - when we take this idea throughout our scriptures, we see that this is, indeed, the fundamentality of true worship.


True worship is beautifully uncomplicated.


And worship never stands alone. Worship is inextricably linked with childlike faith, and a believing that results in friendship.


How, almost absurd, it is, that even today we would hear these words from I AM, “I jus’ wanna be your friend.”


“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.” ~ Jesus


In childlike faith we accept Jesus, and in intimacy with His Spirit, we learn our Father’s ways.


It is enough for our hearts to say, “God, i jus’ wanna be your friend!”?


 




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