What Makes A Friend A Friend? –Babatunde Olugboji
Friendship should be important to us as believers. If we choose friends wisely and become a supportive and trustworthy friend, we can strengthen our faith during challenging times. As iron sharpens iron, so, one man sharpens his friend (Prov. 27:17). The story of David and Jonathan is illustrative of what qualities should attract you in a potential friend.
After David killed Goliath, King Saul enquired: “Whose son are you, young man… David said, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem” (1 Samuel 17:58). As David finished speaking to Saul, Jonathan and David became bound together in close friendship, and Jonathan began to love him as himself (1 Samuel 18:1-2). A true friend will love you unconditionally and without any restraint.
That was the beginning of an enduring friendship that has come to define what a true friend should look like. How could such a friendship between David and Jonathan quickly become so enduring? In this narrative, the battle was over, and silence descended over the Valley of Elah. As the tents of the army encampment rustled in the afternoon breeze, Saul held an audience. His eldest son, Jonathan, was in attendance, and a youthful shepherd was excitedly recounting his tale. The youth was David, and he was full of zeal and enthusiasm.
Saul listened with rapt attention, hanging on to David’s every word. How did Jonathan feel? He had won victories in his long career of serving in Saul’s army. But that day’s victory did not belong to Jonathan; it belonged to this youth. David had killed the giant Goliath.
Was Jonathan jealous of the glory being heaped on David? Not at all. A true friend will not be jealous of your accomplishments.
Jonathan saw David’s great faith. Remember, unlike those in Saul’s army, David was undaunted by Goliath’s colossal size. He reasoned that going into battle bearing God’s name made him more powerful than Goliath with all his weaponry (1 Samuel 17:45-47).
Years earlier, Jonathan had reasoned similarly. He was sure that two men—he and his armor-bearer -could attack and defeat an entire garrison of armed soldiers. “Nothing can hinder God,” Jonathan had said (1 Samuel 14:6). So, Jonathan and David had a lot in common: strong faith and deep love for God. Faith in God cements the love between two individuals.
Although Jonathan was a mighty prince and about 50 years old, while David was a humble shepherd and likely a teenager, the age difference between them did not matter. The covenant they made protected their friendship. David knew that God’s plan was for him to become the next king of Israel. And he didn’t withhold that knowledge from Jonathan. A good friendship thrives on open communication, not on secrets and lies.
How did David’s prospects as a future king affect Jonathan? What if Jonathan had the hope of becoming king one day? The Bible tells us nothing about any internal struggle Jonathan might have had; it tells only of Jonathan’s loyalty to his friend. He wanted to see God’s will done. A good friend is totally loyal, and wound want to see the will of God come to pass in your life.
Will you reflect this week on the people you surround yourself with, and ask God to bring your way your own Jonathan?
1. A true friend will love you unconditionally and without any restraint.
2. A true friend will not be jealous of your accomplishments.
3. A good friend will share in your faith, vision and dream.
4. A good friendship thrives on open communication, not on secrets and lies.
5. A good friend is totally loyal, and wound want to see the will of God come to pass in your life.
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.