Obedience, Friendship & Mature Faith





“Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing because whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” 1

Did Jesus say this to reveal how obedient He was to His Father? Or was Jesus describing the nature of His union and friendship?


Was Jesus the most obedient person who ever walked the planet, or did He simply do whatever His heart desired?


Here’s a thought. Because of their union and friendship, Jesus only did what the Father did.


Because of their union and friendship, the Father only did it because Jesus was doing it.

This is the nature of union, oneness, intimacy, and friendship. This is the nature of a mutual, self-giving, greater love relationship. And everything Jesus said and did was an expression of this friendship.

Guys, Jesus wasn’t born of a virgin, live a miraculous life, die a brutal death, and raise victoriously over the grave so we could become better servants—more proficient in obedience. He walked the planet to reveal His union and friendship with our Father and Holy Spirit so we could know the same union and friendship!

But we will miss that glorious good news if we look at Christ through the transactional hierarchal lens of master-servant. Knowing God as a master outside of friendship is to traverse the sin-counting What am I still lacking road where new laws and subsets are constantly being written to help us navigate our lack, and thus our inability to control ourselves around juice—or any other temptation.

As a young man, I was taught that my obedience was the greatest gift I could give God; it was His highest purpose for my life. But servants don’t know the heart of the master, and therefore, they often live in the transactional insecurity of lack. And so, much like the Rich Young Ruler, as a young man, I pursued obedience as though I only existed to obey, as though it was the high-water mark of Christian maturity—the way to eternal life.

Not the eternal life Jesus lived in the ever-present now. But some far-off eternal life we could hope for in some distant time and space.

But over the years, because of love, I’ve discovered that obedience is the road a good Father invites His kids to travel. It’s the Emmaus Road where we discover His nature through friendship, where He tells us everything (He) has learned from (His) Father. And our hearts burn as we revel in the beautiful reconciling mystery of greater love!

An ever-growing friendship is the high-water mark of faith. In friendship, obedience is an opportunity to discover that serving is the natural response of a burning heart—as natural as breathing.

Jesus modeled this friendship by living as the greatest servant of all—and how could He not? He was one with His Father, and serving was simply an expression of Their union and friendship.

Jesus realigned our understanding of serving by calling God “Dad” and living confidently as a beloved son and friend. He lived sure in reconciling love—and how could He not? Reconciling Love transcends dimensions of time and space.

When we look at Jesus through the relational lens of family, we discover He only said and did what His Father said and did because they were friends—and vice versa!

Said another way, there was no distance, no separation, no obligation, no hierarchy—nothing transactional between them. Nothing!

What if obedience has always been an invitation to discover that the desires of our heart are aligned with the desires of our Father’s heart?

What if obedience is not about giving control but about discovering self-control?

What if obedience is about awakening to our union, the Holy Spirit within us?…

1 John 5:19

This article is excerpted from my book, Leaving and Finding Jesus

Jason Clark is a relational theologian — a storyteller who writes to reveal the transforming kindness of the love of God. He has authored several books, including, Leaving and Finding Jesus, & Prone to Love. He is the lead communicator at  A Family Story and co-host of Rethinking God with Tacos PODCAST. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their four children, Madeleine and Joseph, Ethan, and Eva.


  1. Bear Ross

    Iron sharpens iron. Thanks bro

    • Jason Clark

      Amen, love to you and yours, bro.

  2. Leslie Howard

    Hi Jason,
    I just wanted to say that I love reading your articles. They are always very thought provoking. Thank you for sharing your insight.


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