What does true friendship really look like?
I guarantee it runs deeper than Facebook. Here are three characteristics that I glean from the friendship between David and Jonathan:
“One day near Horesh, David received the news that Saul was on the way to Ziph to search for him and kill him. Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. Don’t be afraid,” Jonathan reassured him. “My father will never find you! You are going to be the king of Israel, and I will be next to you, as my father, Saul, is well aware.” So the two of them renewed their solemn pact before the LORD. Then Jonathan returned home, while David stayed at Horesh” (1 Samuel 15-18).
#1 – True friendship means being willing to go out of one’s way to lend encouragement. Scripture says David and his motley crew were roaming the countryside, trying to escape Saul and his henchmen. They must have been difficult to find, but Jonathan took the time and made the effort to locate his friend because he knew he needed encouragement.
How does look in today’s world? We need to take the time and make the effort to encourage others in need. Yes, life is busy. We’re all busy. But truth be told, sometimes we just need to stop the rush long enough to pray with someone, send a greeting card, or make a phone call.
The finger’s pointin’ at me today. I’m sweating over preparing several workshops for an upcoming conference, but a friend just learned that her husband has three months to live. What to do? She needs encouragement, so I’m having supper with her in the hospital cafeteria tonight and trusting God to multiple my hours so I can finish the workshop prep.
#2 – True friendship means helping one another keep the right focus. Jonathan encouraged David to stay strong in his faith in God. He could have planned a strategy to get rid of Saul so David could return home and get on with his life, but he chose a better way.
What a great example for us today! We, too, need to encourage our friends to keep the faith. To live God-honoring lives. To rise above the status quo. To settle for nothing less than God’s best even when it’s tough.
#3 – True friendship means spurring one another on to become what God has intended. “Don’t be afraid,” said Jonathan. “My father won’t find you. You’ll be the king of Israel, and I’ll be next to you.” I love this picture. You see, humanly speaking, Jonathan was heir to the throne. He saw life from God’s perspective, however, and knew that David was God’s choice. In essence, he was saying to David, “Face your fears! Go for it! I’m with ya all the way!”
We, too, need to encourage our friends to face their fears and pursue God’s purposes for their lives. We need to reassure them that we’re there for them, cheering them on through thick and thin.
What are your thoughts? What characteristics do you value in true friendship?
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