“No longer do I call you servants… I have called you friends” John 15:15, abridged.
In 2010, I embarked on a radical journey into the heart of God: I chose to radically obey God all the time in every decision. Every conversation, every choice during my day, even what I ate for meals and what I wore, I submitted to God. As with any child learning to walk in something new, I made frequent mistakes. I saw miracles, signs and wonders, divine provision, and appointments. I saw my days become ordered by God. One time, I felt God telling me to text someone I knew encouragement… around 5:30 in the morning. The girl I texted later told me that my text woke her up for work when her alarm wasn’t working. The Father planned my days, and I saw my actions transform the world around me.
I embarked on this journey because I wanted my life to count: I wanted my every action to have the best possible result, and who better to decide this than the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who was worthy of everything I gave Him and more.
But something changed as I continued on this journey. The Father seemed strangely unproductive in what He would ask me to do. I remember one day, during a radical season of outpouring, where I saw miracles daily, He asked me to stay home and read all day. And not the bible: we read Harry Potter! I was too far in to start doubting, and to the best of my knowledge the Father wanted to read for fun with me that day. So I did! He exuberantly pointed out to me how much He loved Rowling’s character Hagrid, and the way he loved in the books.
In retrospect, that day was not a lesson. It wasn’t a teaching, or a revelation, or something designed to make me more holy than happy. My Father was excited about something, and He wanted to share it with me.
I think that’s when it began to dawn on me. God wasn’t worried about efficiency. If you can speak universes into being, you don’t need your children to help you with chores. When the Father asks something of us, He isn’t a taskmaster concerned about a deadline, or even a father who “wants me to grow up right.”
The Trinity possesses the absolute most brilliant way to live: love. They are deliriously happy with the radical love they give to each other, and to the world. They urgently want us to step into their joy; joy only found in giving. Commands are a gift, designed to shepherd us into eternal life.
He doesn’t need my help saving and restoring the world: He wants my help. He loves restoring everything and putting the universe into Christ, and He is so excited about His business that He wants me to be a part of it.
Deeper than anything I can do, He likes me for me. He spent eons dreaming up the times and circumstances of my birth, my eyes, my hair color, the kinds of foods I like to eat, even my favorite pastimes! The Trinity has been waiting for all of eternity to share their life with me.
Back in 2010, when I radically submitted my every moment to God’s, it wasn’t my idea. It was the Father’s, and His idea wasn’t to gain another servant, or even to bring me into the blessing of obedience. No, His plan was the raise me into friendship.
The Trinity have plenty of people who want things from them or want to serve them. They are never short of servants or petitioners. But who will enjoy them for their own sake? Who spends time with the Trinity for their own sake? Not many.
God doesn’t need my help. Commands are just a pointer, a necessary guidepost, but not the Father’s primary intention. In the end it’s about shared joy: in a word, friendship.