Lately, I have been thinking a lot, more than I would like to admit, about what’s biblical relationship (friendship & community) and even evaluating some of my personal relationships. True friendship demands relationship. Trust is essential to true friendship for we all need someone with whom we can share our lives, thoughts, feelings, and frustrations. We need to be able to share our deepest secrets with someone, without worrying that those secrets & inner thoughts are blasted everywhere! Failing to be trustworthy with those intimate secrets can destroy a friendship, with the quickness. Faithfulness and loyalty are key to true friendship. Without them, we often feel betrayed, left out, and lonely. In true friendship, there is no backbiting, no negative thoughts, no turning away. True friendship pushes both parties to be and do greater. True friendship requires certain accountability & openness. This friendship encourages one another and forgives one another where there has been an offense. Genuine friendship supports during times of struggle, failure, and successes. They know how to weep when one is weeping and celebrate when one is celebrating.
One of the greatest biblical accounts of this true friendship is found in 1 Samuel 18, talking about the authentic relationship between David and Jonathan. These two men truly cared for each other and had great trust and confidence in one another. Listen to the language of 1 Samuel 18:1-5
“As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. 5 And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.”
This type of friendship was deeper than buddies hanging out. Jonathan treated David as if he was his own brother, not only welcoming him into his home, but he also gave him gifts and clothes off of his own back (literally). Their friendship was tested when Saul, Jonathan’s father wanted to kill David. Jonathan believed in the innocent of David and help him escaped the wrath of King Saul. Jonathan risked his own life for David, who was a fugitive to King Saul. Love compelled him to take action, even at the chance of punishment and even death. Jonathan deserves a lot of credit in the narrative of King David. Their relationship was so connected, that King David honors Jonathan by sparing Jonathan’s crippled son, Mephibosheth, life and bringing him into the palace to live out the rest of his year as a part of the royal family. (2 Samuel 9)
I’ve too noticed something reading this scripture. David, who would eventually become King David, would’ve never stepped into his divine purpose unless Jonathan was willing to call him into his own life. This gets me thinking about my own life and the “friends” I have developed in my life. I think about those who I could clearly identify as my Jonathan and those who I play Jonathan in their life. And if I am honest with myself, I can clearly identify about 3 authentic [ministry] relationships where this plays out and about 5 other relationships [outside of ministry]. Some may say that’s not a lot, but I’m reminded of Jesus who only had 3 in his inner circle as close confidants. I’ve shared all this to get to the main point for the church… Cultivate Authentic Relationships!
I believe the church (you personally and a corporate body) is at a crucial time where authentic relationship must be built & cultivated. Kingdom minded people coming together for Jesus’ purpose. God is fostering relationships with people who will not just speak just a good word but put it with actions. Jonathan told David that his love for him was great, but he proved it with his actions. Strategic relationships are being born so God’s vision can go forth. One will carry the vision in thought and voice while one will run with it, so it can be implemented/fulfilled (Habakkuk 2:2-3). These last days will prove the ones who are willing to risk their own life (in desires, comfort, and resources) for the betterment and progress of the church body and its members. The time for fake and unintentional friendship is over. There is a cry from a hurting generation that is longing and looking for willing ones to befriend them and move forward in God’s redemptive purpose.