Read Revelation 3
Focus on verse 20
In this age of social media some of us have a list of what we call “friends” that includes thousands of people on our FaceBook or Instagram or whatever social media service it is we favor. It would, however, be naïve to assume that all of these are truly friends? Last time I checked, I had around four hundred “friends” on my friend list. Surprisingly, l actually have or had at one point some measure of relationship with most of these people, however, at this point the majority are more like acquaintances. There are also a few whom I have to think a while about before I remember exactly what connection it was I had with them.
An acquaintance is a person we know a few things about and have had at least one or more interaction with. One might also call a friend of a friend an acquaintance. The list of people I would currently call friends would be considerably shorter if the friendships required sufficient interaction to actually maintain a relationship. I would define a friendship as a relationship in which both people involved are more focused on what they contribute to the other person than on what they get from the relationship.
By this definition the vast majority of relationships, that we call friendships, in American culture would actually not qualify as a friendship since they are more of a mutual agreement through which we get from another person some benefit we desire. If and when we no longer are able to acquire, or no longer desire that benefit, the relationship typically ends since that benefit is the primarily basis of the relationship.
In today’s reading John shares with his readers an invitation of friendship from Jesus Christ to anyone who desires a truly meaningful relationship with God.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (v. 20)
The desire of God from the beginning has been to be in genuine relationship with the humans He created. He could have created us like mechanical robots, programmed to respond to Him favorably, however, to do so would have been to eliminate the ability of us, and Him, to experience love since it is impossible to truly love someone if we do not also have the choice not to love.
It is for this reason that Jesus does not demand our friendship, but winsomely and persistently invites us to respond to His love. It is only when we choose to respond to that invitation that we can begin to understand not only what it means to know the love of God, but to begin to understand what it means to have and be a true friend.