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By Cristina Lima, Ph.D.

Why be friends with God?

Nobody questions the common knowledge that humans are social beings and that having people-to-people relationships is important since it contributes to our personal and social well being. What about having a relationship with God? How important is that? Saint Augustine brings light to this question. After years away from God, he finally found the Lord, and summarized his experience saying, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” Only in God did Saint Augustine find the peace, joy, meaning, and fulfillment his heart was looking for.

So, it seems having a relationship with God is also important. However, way more than just important, being friends with God is essential for our souls. The reason is very simple. We were created to have a relationship with God. Making an analogy with our physical body, we can say that searching for a connection with God is in the DNA of our souls. Deep inside, we long for God and  a relationship with Him. In fact, our God is a God of relationship, a Trinitarian God in relation, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Human beings, created in His image and likeness, are called to enter into the magnificent community of the Trinitarian God. This is what we are created for and is the main target in life. Everything else is just a means to reach the ultimate goal.

If you are not looking forward to entering into friendship with God, you are missing the whole point of your life. Wherever you are in your spiritual journey, I invite you to an exploration about what it looks like to be friends with God.

“Entering Into Friendship With God” is the title of my new book. It is a personal eight-week journey of daily reflections. The book is an invitation for you to become friends with God. It is God Himself who invites you and wants to be friends with you. He loves you and wants you to experience His love for you.

How do you develop a relationship with God?

Think about a good relationship you have. Think about your best friend, or spouse, and how the relationship developed. Did the relationship evolve over time? I would imagine the level of trust and intimacy changed and moved from superficial to deeper intimacy as you collected experiences together. Relationships change and grow as friends get to know each other and spend time together. In a similar way, as we get to know God and spend time with Him, our connection with Him evolves and changes. Friendship with God is not a given. We need to work on it as we would on any friendship. Most important, we should expect our relationship with God to grow and develop into deeper levels of friendship.

If your relationship with God is not evolving, maybe something is missing. The way we nurture our relationship with God is by praying, meditating with the Scriptures, and following his commandments. God, as a good friend, gives us the grace to follow through and be faithful. Without His grace, it is impossible to proceed. It is a relationship, which means it implies an exchange. For example, He calls us, we respond to Him; He guides us, we follow His instructions; we fall down, He lifts us up and supports us; He watches over us, we accept His help with gratitude, and so on. It is a dialogue of friends through prayer and life.

A tickle in the soul

Many Christians do have a relationship with God, but a distant one. They have an acquaintance type of relationship with God. They believe God exists and  think about God once and a while, yet God is not invited to be central in their lives. Many will live their whole lives as mere acquaintances with God. Wherever your starting point is, I invite you to consider spiritual growth. There is so much to experience from God!

Beyond the acquaintance type of relationship, there are those people who feel a tickle in their souls and want to have a more meaningful relationship with God. Pay close attention to the Holy Spirit touching your soul. Sometimes the touch is so obvious that you cannot miss it, but sometimes it can  be very subtle. Just like a soft tickle. When there is such a tickle, the soul may decide it wants to be more than an acquaintance with God. It may want to become a follower. When this happens, the person wants to get to know God and learn more about Him. This is a big step in the journey. As a follower, the person learns God is approachable and starts to venture into dialogue with God.

Then, after being a follower for a while, the soul may want more out of the relationship.  The person becomes a follower and a servant of God. Some people become satisfied being a servant and remain like that for many years. However, others are thirsty for more. There is a desire for more growth in their relationship with God. They may realize that God wants to be friends with them. God touches their soul and their life gains a whole new meaning. In time God becomes more precious than the finest gold. They realize nothing in this world is more valuable than having God as their best friend.

Being best friends with God is the supreme gift one can receive, and sometimes, the friendship develops to even deeper levels. Friendship with God may evolve to the point where the person makes the greatest discovery of their life. This happens when God wants to develop spiritual intimacy with the person whispering to the soul, “You are my beloved.” The person starts to understand and feel God’s love in a different, more profound way. This is the most precious journey a soul could ever take, which I invite you to embark.

Would you like to be friends with God?

In my book, Entering Into Friendship with God, I lead you on an eight-week journey, walking towards a personal friendship with God. Each week addresses a different topic that is fundamental to growing in intimacy with God. These topics are: Praise, Forgiveness, Healing, Prayer, Word of God, Service, Sacraments, and the Church. Each day of the week offers an invitation to explore different facets of the specific topic.

This is not a book to just read and acquire knowledge from; it is a book to experience. You may start the journey with the perception that you are simply a follower of Jesus. As you deepen your relationship with God, you will find yourself growing in intimacy with him and moving from follower to servant, from servant to friend, from friend to beloved.

Link to this book: