Friends With God?

“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.—James 2:23 (NIV)

God wants to be your best friend, but it can be hard to figure out how that actually works. It’s not like we can shop for clothes together or ride bikes around the neighborhood. So how do we grow closer to God?

Words With Friends
Sometimes when we pray, we use a lot of fancy words. That’s because God is King of the universe, and He deserves our respect. But Jesus also describes God as “your heavenly Father” (Matthew 6:26 and 32). In addition to more formal prayers, try having a conversation with God. Talk about your day, crack jokes or share a secret. When something scary or exciting happens, tell Him how it makes you feel. If you can get beyond “thanks for this” and “help me with that,” you’ll find there’s so much more to talk about.

Road Trip!
Good friends enjoy hanging out together, even if they’re not doing anything. With your parents’ permission, find a place where you can escape the distractions of normal life and just be with God. Lie in the grass and watch the clouds roll by. Go on a hike that ends in a spectacular view. If you live in the city, try a museum or library (as long as it’s beautiful and quiet). Wherever you go, stay there long enough for God to wrap you up in the warm, fuzzy blanket of His peace.

Scrapbook of a Savior
Nobody has taken a photo of God making silly faces. But He does show us glimpses of His personality. Create a scrapbook about your friendship with God. Write down some of the coolest things He said (in the Bible). Add photos of His handiwork: rushing waterfalls, shimmering galaxies or even your little brother. Journal about a time that you felt God answer your prayers. As you get older, add new pages describing how your friendship has changed.

A Little Something
There’s no feeling quite like finding the perfect gift: something your friend has always wanted but never dreamed they’d get. Micah 6:8 (NIV) says, “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Tithes and offerings are important, but when you treat others with justice, mercy and humility, you’re giving God an incredible gift. And just like when you find that perfect birthday present, you’ll feel great giving it.

Imitators of Christ
It’s inevitable—spend enough time with someone, and you’ll start dressing, talking or acting like each other. That’s part of the whole “bathtub full of caramel” effect. So what happens when you spend time with God? You probably won’t wear Bible robes or build giant boats. But maybe you’ll start being nicer to people who annoy you. You might enjoy giving more than getting. Suddenly, you’re using words like “I forgive you” . . . and you mean it.

The best part about being friends with God? He already loves you. No matter what bands you like, how you dress or how often you mess up, God will never give up on you. He wants to be best friends forever . . . literally.

Copyright © 2012 Focus on the Family. Used by permission; Photo © 2012 Joycee Yip/Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.