Last week we began a new series about love and we learned that:
1. Love is the heart of God.
2. To love God is to imitate the heart of God.
3. To love others is to encourage them to imitate the heart of God.
Key Passages: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Proverbs 18:24, 1 Samuel 18:1-4, 1 Samuel 18-20, 2 Samuel 9:3-11
We were created for relationship and we need other people to be our friends in order to fulfill all the God has called us to be.
A “bromance” is a non-sexual committed relationship with someone (other than a spouse) who can challenge you, pray for you, support you, encourage you, and pick you up when you fall (Proverbs 17:17, 27:6). We were created for relationship and we need other people to be our friends in order to fulfill all that God has called us to be.
If a friend relationship is so critical to our spiritual health, it is obvious that the devil would try to isolate us from having a friend. As Cain was banished from relationships after the murder of his brother, the devil wants to separate us from relationship with others.
A true friend is not just a Facebook friend; you can have hundreds of “Facebook friends”, but still no real friendships. So ask yourself, “Who is my friend? – Who can challenge me, confront me, be honest with me, and be there with me through thick and thin?”
In today’s passage from 1 Samuel, Saul was the king and a selfish insecure man. God was displeased with his character and kingship, so He had anointed another man, David, to eventually take over as king. David eventually met Saul’s son Jonathan, and the two young men became friends and made a solemn commitment to one another. Pastor Miles spoke of four characteristics of Jonathan and David’s friendship and noted that God also wants to be this kind of friend to us. The Bible tells us that God was a friend to Abraham, that He talked to Moses “face to face as a man speaks to his friend,” – and that Jesus was called a “friend of sinners.”
1. Love knits the hearts of friends together. (1 Samuel 18:1)
Knit = to be bound, one in spirit, inseparable, bonded and permanent (literally “to be chained” together)
Do you have someone to whom your own heart is knit? When friends’ hearts are knit together, one’s hurt becomes the other’s hurt. One’s rejoicing becomes the other’s rejoicing. Although you can’t force two hearts to be knit together, you need to be open to it when the opportunity arises in order to have this type of deep friendship.
A man who has friends must himself be friendly. Proverbs 18:24
Friends on Facebook can “unfriend” one another, but this means they were never really friends in the first place!
David and Jonathan loved each other’s souls as their own souls. This kind of friendship will make you think twice before you’d do something to destroy it., Romans 8:14-17)
2. Love encourages your friends' God identity. (1 Samuel 18:4 Galatians 4:1-7, Romans 8:14-17)
And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David… 1 Samuel 18:4a
As the son of the king, Jonathan had a royal robe as a symbol of his position and his future. But he recognized God’s anointing of David and was willing to remove the royal robe from himself and pass the robe and the role it symbolized to his friend.
Who can empower you and encourage you to be what God has called you to be? You may have friends who tell you what you want to hear, boost your ego and take your side, but do you have a friend who tells you the truth? Are you truthful with your friends if you see them making poor choices and destroying relationships, or do you “co-sign” their behavior? A faithful friend helps their friend to be all God calls them to be and to be aware of how their choices are affecting their life. And it takes a faithful friend to receive the truth, even when it is embarrassing or painful.
The wounds of a friend are faithful. Proverbs 27:6
As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17
3. Love self-sacrificially empowers your friends’ purpose. (1 Samuel 18:4)
...with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt. 1 Samuel 18:4b
Jonathan gave to David the very symbols of his strength and protection as a sign that he wanted his friend to be strong. He had to make himself vulnerable in order to empower his friend. Whom in your life are you strengthening and empowering?
Are you free to be bare and vulnerable with your friend? It takes a lot of energy to be guarded all the time, but is freeing to be able to be yourself and be accepted and loved as you are. Life can be burdensome, but when a trusted friend walks alongside you, the burden is lightened.
4. Love makes a lifelong covenant (promise) with your friends. (1 Samuel 18:3)
Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. 1 Samuel 18:3
Covenant = one of the central themes of the Bible describing a permanent, deep, intense, committed, irrevocable friendship built upon grace between God and man. This word is used to describe David & Jonathan’s “bromance” three times (1 Samuel 18:3; 20:8; 23:18)
Whose soul do you love as well as your own soul? When you make a covenant friendship with another person, he remains your friend no matter what he does - for all of your lives.
God wants to be your friend and make a covenant with you. He loves you and he wants to walk with you, help you, encourage you, bless you, give you strength every day and guide you to help you thrive and become all He has created you be.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13
Jesus has demonstrated His deep love and commitment to you by dying for your sins. Will you allow Him to have a covenant bond of friendship with you?