One of the most mind-blowing concepts in the Bible is the idea that you can be God's friend. Friends enjoy mutuality and commonality. How could we possibly be on that level with God, in all His omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence? What could we possibly bring to a relationship with Him?
Yet Jesus said, "No longer do I call you servants...but I have called you friends" (John 15:15). Even as the thought boggles our minds, it delights our hearts. Apparently, friendship with us is something God wants. So for our example, we look to Abraham, the only person in the Bible God explicitly called His friend (see Isaiah 41:8). Abraham's behavior reveals four characteristics we need to participate in a divine friendship:
1. Spontaneity. To be God's friend, you have to expect the unexpected. God has a habit of showing up when you least expect Him. Abraham wasn't expecting company as he sat in his tent one hot day, but suddenly he had visitors—one of whom was God (see Genesis 18:1-2). Good friendship can withstand that kind of spontaneity. As someone wisely noted, "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken." To be God's friend is to be open to Him and His purposes and direction for your life.
2. Humility. When Abraham saw his three visitors, he ran to meet them and bowed low in respect (see v. 2). Abraham was a wealthy, powerful statesman, but he recognized he was in the presence of someone much higher in rank than he was, and he responded appropriately. He worshiped without any thought for how he looked or sounded, because his focus was on the Lord.
3. Ministry. If you call yourself a friend of God, serving others should be one of your highest priorities—just think of Jesus stooping to wash His disciples' feet. When God showed up at Abraham's doorstep, Abraham jumped up, invited his guests to stay, and set the plans for a grand meal in motion (see vv. 3-8). He served personally, immediately, and generously.
4. Conformity. Trust in God is key to friendship with God. Abraham had staked his life on the promise God gave him back in Genesis 12 that he would have a son. Though he made some mistakes along the way, Abraham walked in conformity and obedience to the Lord, in contrast to his wife, Sarah (see vv. 9-15). As Jesus said in John 15:14, "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you."
Overall, Abraham's response to God gives us a model of how to thrive in and enjoy God's love and friendship. Did you know that God's plan for your life includes friendship with Him? He has offered you that most astonishing invitation ever—the opportunity to be friends with Him—through Jesus Christ. But He won't barge in or force Himself on you; you need to invite Him into your life. If you have yet to do that, why not do that now? Wouldn't you prefer to have God as your friend and everyone else as your enemy rather than everyone else as your friend and God as your enemy?