Keeping Our Friendship with God
TRUE friendship makes for peace and security. It also makes for contentment and happiness. That is why we read: “There exists a friend sticking closer than a brother.” “A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.”—Prov. 18:24; 17:17.*
What better friendship could anyone cultivate than that with Jehovah God? Surely, all that can be said in praise of true friendship applies to friendship with him, and that to the superlative degree.
How can we gain that much-prized friendship with God? To gain his friendship we must first take in knowledge of him and his purposes. Then we must exercise faith in that knowledge by dedicating ourselves to do his will. “Without faith it is impossible to please him well, for he that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” By devoting our all to God we will be heeding Jesus’ command: “Make friends for yourselves by means of the unrighteous riches.”—Heb. 11:6; Luke 16:9; John 17:3.
How can we keep God’s friendship once we have gained it? King David, who himself was a friend of God, answers: “O Jehovah, who will be a guest in your tent? Who will reside in your holy mountain? He who is walking faultlessly and practicing righteousness and speaking the truth in his heart. He has not slandered with his tongue. To his companion he has done nothing bad, and no reproach has he taken up against his intimate acquaintance.”—Ps. 15:1-3.
Walking faultlessly and practicing righteousness take in ever so many things. It means, first of all, that we remain loyal to Jehovah God. It means giving him “exclusive devotion.” It means to “love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.” To keep our friendship with Jehovah we must be constant, dependable, loyal, and keep walking with him as did Enoch and other faithful men of old.—Ex. 20:5; Mark 12:30; Gen. 5:24.
This means that we must guard against all improper friendships, for will not such make us the enemies of God? Guarded against also must be the love of money, for we cannot serve two masters, and especially not when the two are opposed to each other as are God and Riches.—Jas. 4:4; Luke 16:13.
We must also trust God implicitly and always submit to him if we would walk faultlessly before him, enjoying his friendship. That means consulting him in all our ways, letting him direct our paths. Never do we want to push ahead presumptuously with our own ideas or with the private opinions of others. Reading in God’s Word or law regularly will help us to keep proper perspective as to our relationship with our Maker and with our neighbor, for were not the kings of Israel commanded to do the same for the same reasons? Nor may we overlook talking with God in prayer. All such will help us to walk modestly with God and so keep from losing God’s friendship by acting presumptuously.—Prov. 3:5, 6; Deut. 17:18-20.
Walking faultlessly and practicing righteousness also mean keeping holy, for Jehovah our God is holy. We may not sully ourselves by unclean practices, however insignificant they may seem to be, but must keep strict watch that how we walk is as wise persons.—1 Pet. 1:16; Eph. 5:15.
For us to be keeping our friendship with God we must also be careful as to our dealings with others, especially as regards those in the Christian congregation. We want to go beyond mere justice, not only not doing anything bad to a companion, but lovingly refusing to take up a reproach against an intimate acquaintance who may try us at times. Love covers a multitude of sins.—1 Pet. 4:8.
Speaking the truth in our hearts is also required of us if we would keep our friendship with Jehovah, keep dwelling in his tent. And what does that include? It means that we must be honest with ourselves and others, and in particular that we cherish the truth of God’s Word, what it tells us about our incomparable God Jehovah, his attributes, works and purposes. We should delight to meditate or think about these things. If these things are truly in our hearts they will also be upon our lips, for out of the heart’s abundance the mouth speaks. By following such a course we will be able to exclaim with the psalmist David: “I will be a guest in your tent for times indefinite,” keeping our friendship with God forever.—Ps. 61:4.
For details see The Watchtower, February 15, 1962.