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The Danger of Having “If Not For Me” Friends -By Babatunde Olugboji


The Danger of Having “If Not For Me” Friends -By Babatunde Olugboji

There was something refreshing about the friendship between David and Jonathan. The Bible talks about Saul initially embracing David as one of his own, but things changed as David became an astute military leader in his own right. A popular song of the day was “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” (1 Samuel 18:7)

When Saul realized that God was with David, he sought to kill David at every opportunity. David succeeded in evading the numerous attempts on his life with the help of Jonathan, the king’s son. At some point, David had to take refuge in the bush.

‘And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 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.’ ( 1 Samuel 23: 16-17)

Jonathan’s actions illustrate that a true friend is a comrade for all seasons: both at good and bad times. Doesn’t that remind you of the statement that ‘There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother?’ (Proverb 18:24)

Jonathan assured his friend David: my crazy dad will not lay hands on you. God has anointed and appointed you as king over Israel. Even my murderous dad knows it and there is nothing he can do about it. Jonathan was in essence saying: ‘I know you are in the wilderness at this moment, but you won’t die there. Pull yourself together friend, fear not, maintain your spiritual swagger because you shall surely be the next king and as your friend, I shall be standing next to you at your coronation!’

Have you noticed that some people choose to be your friend for a reason, not for all seasons? These are fair weather friends. Some will remain with you if you are hanging on their coattails or eating out of their hands, or when you depend on them. But when you no longer seek advice from them, when you stop borrowing money from them, their countenance will change, they will no longer pick your calls, or respond to your emails.

Some friends will help you so that they can boast about how good they’ve been to you. Those are the ones you can describe as ‘If not for me’ friends. If not for me you would not have bought your house, if not for me your child wouldn’t have been admitted to that university, if not for me, you probably wouldn’t have been able to meet that man you married. ‘If not for me’ is their motive, language and songs.

Those so-called friends will help you only if it gives them unlimited opportunities to remind you of how important they are in your life. Some people calling themselves your friends will help you only if it makes them feel good: ‘Was your wife aware that I gave you the money you used to pay the landlord?

This week, I declare, every if not for me friend, who have almost become lord and master over you, striving to dominate your family, the Lord will shut their mouth in the name of Jesus.

God will lift you above them, He will surpass your expectations. Jonathan stood with David when it wasn’t convenient. God will bring your way a friend for all seasons.

Have a great week!

Kingdom Dynamics, a weekly column is written by Dr. Babatunde Olugboji, the President, Kingdom House, a non-profit organization in New Jersey, USA.