God wants us to have people in our lives that we can experience deep connections with. God wants us to have people in our lives who can we have intimate communicants. God wants us to have people in our lives where we can experience selfless sharing.
God wants us to have friends.
Proverbs 18:24 says: “A person who has friends must themselves be friendly”. Therefore, to be truly friendly a friend often has to take the lead going the extra mile to establish the friendship.
While God wants us to have friends, and God wants us to put in the extra effort to make friends. God also puts into our lives special people with whom we are to have a covenant relationship.
A covenant relationship can best be described as a promise. However, it is not a casual promise or a promise of convenience. The type of promise of a convenient relationship is “I’m going to do whatever it takes to make this happen”-type of promise.
What’s more a convenient promise is a one-way promise. It’s a promise that you make for the benefit of someone else. It is not a mutual agreement for mutual benefit promise. It’s a choice that you make to benefit someone else or a group of “someone-else’s” without concern about whether it may benefit you.
The relationship between David and Jonathan demonstrates many of the hallmarks of what a convenient relationship and convenient promise should look like.
It is clear from the biblical record that God put Jonathan in David’s life at a crucial time in his journey to the throne. For if it were not for Jonathan’s covenant relationship with his friend, David would never have been able to overcome the obstacles he faced during the reign of King Saul.
God is a God of covenant relationships. A covenant is God’s promise of His grace to unite Himself with His chosen people. Examples of God initiating covenant relationship can be found with Noah (Genesis 9:9-17), Abraham (Genesis 15:18; 17:2), Moses, and the nation of Israel (Exodus 19). God’s very nature ensures and testifies of His faithfulness to always fulfill His covenant with us despite our weakness and failure to adhere to our faithfulness with God (Exodus 32).
Lee Grady is the former editor the Christian website called Charisma. He writes about six qualities that Jonathan brings to his covenant relationship with David. I share these qualities with the hopes that all of us should consider emulation
- Jonathan nurtured a spiritual bond.
After David killed Goliath and moved to Saul’s palace, the Bible says “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David” (1 Samuel 18:1). This is the work of the Holy Spirit. All Christians should experience a sense of family connection, but there are certain friends you will feel deeply connected to because God is putting you in each other’s lives for a reason. Don’t resist this process. Let God knit you to people.
- Jonathan showed sacrificial love.
Jonathan loved David so much that he risked his life to help him fulfill his mission. Jonathan even dodged Saul’s spear in his effort to help his friend. He lived in the spirit of Jesus’ words about friendship: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). The world says we should only care about our own success. But the best way to become more like Jesus is to help someone else succeed!
- Jonathan always offered encouragement.
When David was fleeing from Saul in the wilderness, Jonathan traveled to Horesh to cheer up his friend (1 Samuel 23:16). There were times in David’s life when he had to encourage himself, but in this case Jonathan was God’s instrument. We need each other! If you allow the Holy Spirit to speak life and hope through you, your words can propel your friends into their destiny.
- Jonathan offered his friend protection.
When Jonathan realized his father was plotting to kill David, he not only warned him of danger but he concocted a plan to deliver his friend (1 Samuel 19:1-4). Friends don’t let friends get massacred in spiritual warfare. If you see a friend making a foolish mistake, or if you sense the enemy is targeting him, God can use you to avert a disaster. Speak the truth in love.
- Jonathan kept his friend’s pain confidential.
David confided in his friend Jonathan, and in some cases he poured out his heart in frustration. At one point he said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my iniquity?” (1 Samuel 20:1). When I’m going through a difficult trial, I sometimes just need to vent. And I have loyal friends who let me process my pain … and they don’t run and tell others else about my weakness. This is true friendship.
- Jonathan harbored no jealousy.
At one point in David’s journey, Jonathan realized his friend would one day be king of Israel. This was actually Jonathan’s inheritance, since he was Saul’s son, but he acknowledged that God had chosen David instead. So he gave David his royal robe, his armor and his weapons (see 1 Samuel. 18:3-4).
This is a beautiful picture of how we are to prefer and honor each other. Jealousy destroys friendship. If we have God’s love in our hearts, we will want our friends to surpass us.
If you’ve been hurt in previous relationships, break out of your isolation and ask God to heal your heart. Then choose to be a Jonathan to someone else.