In February, Gravity Church examined friendship in a society that has an inconsistent definition or understanding of what it means to be a friend and to engage in this blessed relationship of friendship. What I was reminded of in this teaching is God’s care and direction in all aspects of life. Last month we talked about the end times, a loaded, very real and pertinent teaching- important to each, individually and globally as believers. God also cares about our life at this point. He gives us direction, instruction and care for how He designed us to be with one another. I truly believe that friendship is one of God’s greatest gifts here on earth. My prayer as I write through this teaching, the reader, you, will be enlightened and touched by the importance of friendship and the privilege we have to be a friend to one another. Be encouraged and challenged, with the Lord’s strength we can all become more real and kind with one another. As Joel reminds us in the message, the power of Jesus’ ultimate testimony of friendship be made known to us again!
As in previous teachings and will always be, we examine our teachings from a Biblical perspective and hold on to the Truth that the Holy Bible provides us. Proverbs 13 verse 20 and 1 Samuel 18 are the initial passages of insight.
Let’s look at 1 Samuel 18 verses 1 to 4:
After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. 3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.
Introduction segway= who has texting? Joel’s t rex texting and the interesting texts Joel’s friends receive from him…. including…. fat fingers or autocorrect
“Dan, I’m dropping off my girlfriend at Highland dancing and then I’ll call you”
“Dan, I’m dropping off my girls at Highland dancing and then I’ll call you”
Communication is a big deal! Our constant hook up to technology and the misinterpretation with text messages and emails. Point= COMMUNICATION DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUATE TO CONNECTION.
There is a dirge in moving on from communication to community to connection! Caring and developing friendships has to go beyond merely communicating. The area of friendship is undervalued in our society today. The right friends set us up for success…. friendship wrong, more pain, more trials, more loneliness…. show me your friends and I’ll show you your future!
Proverbs 13 verse 20:
He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will be destroyed
Are you surrounded by people who are encouraging and challenging you to reach that next level? Spiritually? Financially? Physically??
Activity with the audience and the reader himself can indeed do the same!
Grab a pen and paper and write out your closest friends; married people cannot indicate their spouse and single people cannot indicate their pet. What does it mean to have close friends? The people you can call at 2am, the people you are transparent with and know every thing about you and are still good with you!
Take a look at your list.
Sociologists suggest that you are an average of those closest friends. An average of your five closest friends. This is evident for all areas of life. Thought provoking and gives you perspective.
1 Corinthians 15 verse 33 says this,
Evil company corrupts good habits
Who you associate with, is who you become!!
Are you hanging around and spending time with the right people? Are they thinking the same things? Do you care and give importance and significance to the same things??
Another question Joel posed to the audience, “How many people would like to get married to a good person?” Are the people around you pessimistic and negative toward relationship, marriage and family? This may not be the best environment to produce the desired outcome.
Life is a series of choices.
Before we continue, let’s define friendship. We are discussing this concept, but have not clearly defined what we mean by friendship.
Again, the Bible speaks of friendship. Proverbs 17 verse 17:
A friend loves at all times
And a brother is born for adversity
A FRIEND LOVES AT ALL TIMES! TRUST AND RUST
Many people would state that trust is an essential component in friendship. But, let’s consider RUST as an essential component, that not only strengthens, but develops TRUST. Rust is the challenging situation or time in a friendship. Going through a time together and coming out of the rust= trust and strengthened friendship!
This friendship develops between two, overflows into the spouses and inevitably into children.
According to specific studies, the average North American today has only TWO close friends.
25% state they have NO single, entrusted friend.
In contrast, twenty five years ago, the average North American had SIX close friends.
Why is there limited close friendships? Here are three key reasons:
1. Increased work hours
3. Explosion of social media. This is the one we will focus in on for just a moment.
For instance, it can be certain that twenty years ago not one of us reading called all of our friends to tell them what we are having for breakfast. Yet, this is what we do today, we take a picture to ensure that our friends know what we are doing as well as ensuring that they can see what it is we are eating…. a public and personal broadcast.
Experts have determined that we as a society are becoming less concerned about face to face intimacy, BUT more so about an online image of what we want others to see or an idea of ourselves.
Let us not lose the meeting with friends and the sharing of hearts!
Let’s turn back into Scripture and examine the relationship between David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 18. The Bible’s amazing example of friendship!
Prior to the meeting between Jonathan and David, David confronts and defeats Goliath. This is a familiar story to us, David, a shepherd boy realizes that Goliath has affronted the Lords’ people and their King, Saul is frightened. David, with the power of the Lord confronts and defeats the giant with a rock and a sling. Powerful!
David is then requested by Saul to be brought before him. Jonathan is the crowned prince, he is to be King after Saul. He is with Saul when David is brought before the King. There is a depth of friendship from the very start.
This passage shows us how to move from merely communicating to connecting, connecting into developing true and lasting friendships!
How we develop healthy friendship:
1. Don’t force it, find it
After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself
Other versions depict Jonathan’s spirit to be knit with David. This word, KNIT means a natural linking or forging together. Jonathan’s spirit was naturally connected with David. True friendship is a GIFT FROM GOD!
It naturally grows as if no effort is needed.
2. Don’t control it once you have it
From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family.
Here we see the distinction between Jonathan and Saul. Jonathan’s soul is being knit and you can almost picture him thinking, “We’re going to be friends!” and Saul decides to control David, as he is known and popular by keeping him within his home. We understand control as a result of insecurity and this is what Saul is experiencing.
3. Create a covenant
And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.
God will develop and grow friendship. Here we see that Jonathan was purposeful in his friendship and he reaches out to David as he would care for himself. Friendship is love based and is a commitment, NOT a contract. We commit, we may think, “well, I may have someone betray me”…. you will…. “I may not have someone there for me when I really need them”….. you will. We live in a fallen world. Again, the Bible shows us this!
Jesus called His disciples as His friends and Peter, denied Him three times…. Judas betrayed Him.
Start with a covenant; love, pray, sacrifice, be there….
4. Be a giver, not a taker
Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.
Not only does Jonathan give his personal belongings, his name actually means GIVER!
Give in friendship and also give thanks to be a in a good friendship. It is a true blessing!
Proverbs 18 verse 24 says this:
A man who has friends must himself be friendly
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother
How to make a friend? Essentially, it is not our responsibility to make friends, but to first be FRIENDLY. This is a Biblical principle, not a personality thing.
5. Choose selfless instead of self seeking
Five chapters after this initial meeting, David learns that Saul is out to take his life and Jonathan comes to him. 1 Samuel 23 verses 15 to 18 state:
15 While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that[a] Saul had come out to take his life. 16 And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 17 “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.” 18 The two of them made a covenant before the Lord. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh.
Jonathan helps him find strength in God, he encourages his friend and not only that, he encourages him in the direction that God has called David’s life, the call that David will succeed Saul as King!
True friendship looks beyond the here and now. It encourages the pursuit of what one is to become!
What a magnificent picture of friendship is David and Jonathan. God’s Word gives us instruction and guidance for all aspects of living. Ultimately, let us live to serve God in our friendships!!
The Good News of the Gospel is the TRUTH that we have true friendship that exists out of relationship with God, the One who made us and called us to be HIs!
Until we read again! Be blessed and be encouraged to be build friendships in Biblical Truth.