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hope for churches in stress


In the Old Testament, God spoke to exceptional individuals, like Moses, “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex. 33:11; Ps. 27:8; Jam. 2:23).

Now this closeness is open to all Christ-followers. “I no longer call you servants,” Jesus says. “Instead, I have called you friends . . .” (Jn 15.15-16).

There is no formula for friendship with Jesus. Yet there are ways to deeper communion, akin to conversation between close friends (Rev. 3:20).

To “talk” with Jesus, we renew our mind with his Word (Jn. 15:7-11; Rom. 12:2). We interact with mature believers, directly and in books, especially classics, and songs (Eph. 5:19). We take steps of faith and obedience (Jn. 15:14; Jam. 1.22-25). We pray (Phil. 4:6).

And Jesus answers, commonly by action, counsel from a friend, a passage from Scripture, insight from a book or song, or by something we observe in nature (Jer. 1:11-12).

This communication is both objective, always in accord with the Bible, and subjective—with a distinctive “feel” that is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (Jam. 3:17).

Often, Jesus will communicate in multiple ways, confirming an initial sense of what we have heard, so that we can proceed in faith (Jam. 1:6-8).

Even with digital communication, face-to-face conversation between friends is still best. And intimate conversation with Jesus, best of all.

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