God has sent you and I a friend request. It’s extraordinary, really. The God who designs snowfalls and draws sunrises, the God who initiated breath and inspires life – – – He wants to be our friend. This invitation is overwhelming, and He welcomes us to respond to His friend request any day, hour or even moment the whole year through. However, I believe there’s nothing like the season of Advent to really deeply ponder God’s extraordinary invitation He sent through Jesus. This friend request is the Gospel – – – the good news of salvation hand delivered by our Savior Himself.
God’s Friend Request through the Ages
God has been inviting humanity into friendship with Him since the beginning of time, starting with Adam and Eve. They literally, physically knew Him as their friend. They walked with Him in the cool of the day, communed with Him in the Garden and talked with Him along the way. They experienced amazing real relationship with the God of the Universe – – – until the day they became convinced that God is not a good friend. Without a great deal of thought, they unfriended their Creator and decided to friend and follow someone else. Turns out, they friended their enemy, who was cunningly disguised as a friend – which, of course, he was anything but. The brokenness that followed shattered all creation. Ever since, humanity has not been born into friendship with God but has entered this world in broken relationship with Him.
God has not given up on us, though. The magnificent story of the whole Bible, from beginning to end, is the story of how He is reaching out to humanity to re-engage relationship with Him. Over and over, throughout the centuries, He has sent many requests, through invitations such as, “Return to Me!” (Zechariah 1:3), “Return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 30:2), and “Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12).
During what we call Old Testament times, God articulated His friend request through prophecies, powerful deliverance and profound miracles. He set slaves free from invincible captors and rescued them despite overwhelming odds. He guided them past death and destruction to life and blessing. He made the impossible, possible. He stayed engaged with humanity and kept reaching out, time and time again, to extend His invitation.
Through the millenia, some people chose to accept God’s friend request. People like Moses, Joshua, Hagar, Ruth, Deborah, Isaiah, Hezekiah and King Lemuel’s mother. People like Amos, Obadiah and Malachi.
Most people did not choose to accept His friend request, though. Even in the face of overwhelming miraculous movements, most of humanity would not become His friend.
God’s Friend Request Continues through His Son
So, the story continued as God chose to articulate His friend request in a new way. It was a new thing for us, but this was His redemption plan all along. God sent part of Himself – His Son – to earth to deliver the remarkable message. God in the flesh, fully God, fully man, hand delivered the invitation signed with His very own name. Through the ages, the invitation had always been “Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32 NIV). The angel told Joseph, “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). So now, when God sent His Son as Savior, the Name of the Lord became ever more personal: His Name is Jesus.
Jesus so much wants to be your friend and my friend that, not only was He born into this world to walk amongst us, He was willing to die in our place and pay the price for our sins. Jesus told His followers, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
He said this, and then He did it.
Jesus laid down His life for us then took it back up into victory. And all we must do to accept His friend request is to believe in His Name. Scripture says, “If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
This friend request doesn’t require internet access, wifi capability, power grids or solar energy. It doesn’t need new technology, the latest gadgets or inventions of any kind. What’s more, God’s invitation isn’t limited to certain parts of the world or particular people groups. Jesus’ friend request is for every single person. The Old Testament invitation is echoed into the New: “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:12-13).
When we do this, when we call on Jesus, we begin the adventure of real relationship with Him. In this, Jesus says, “I no longer call you servants… Instead, I have called you friends” (John 15:15).
The Breathtaking News of Christmas
How is it that the God of the Universe would call us friends? This isn’t something to be taken lightly; this is mind-boggling truth. Jesus calls us friends when we accept His friend request.
What’s more, accepting His friend request isn’t just a past-tense, one-time decision. Just like in our relationships with the special people in our lives, the more time we spend in relationship with Jesus, meeting with Him, getting to know Him, the deeper and more intimate our friendship becomes. His is a friendship we can and should continue to respond to and accept every single day of our lives.
This is the breathtaking news of Christmas and the extraordinary invitation of the Gospel. We can accept this phenomenal invitation for ourselves and then tell others about so they can accept His friend request, too. We are so privileged to “Meet with God and Make Him Known,” as we get to pass on the extraordinary gift God has given us. What a reason to celebrate at Christmas and always!
For each of us it all comes down to this one thing. God’s Friend Request: Confirm or Delete.
As for me, yes, yes, yes, I accept Your friend request, Jesus! I am humbled and honored by Your invitation, and I will follow You and keep saying “Yes” to You until I meet You in person.
Oh friend, may you accept God’s friend request, follow Him and keep saying “Yes” to Him all the days of your life, too.
Be encouraged! Tosha ❤️