No matter what our position or status in life, we all need friends, especially those who are genuine, loyal, and lasting. If we’ve found a friend like this, we should be grateful because he or she is a priceless treasure.
In 1 Samuel 18:1-7, the story of David and Jonathan is a wonderful example of a true friendship. Immediately after David’s victory over Goliath, “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself” (v. 1). This was an unusual friendship because it appears to have developed suddenly, yet it reached deep into their souls. Being knit together is like having hearts linked to each other so they cannot be separated.
Jonathan, who was a great warrior himself, saw David’s courage and felt an immediate bond with him. An intimate friendship requires the giving of one’s self to another, and that’s what Jonathan did. Because of his love for David, he made a covenant with him that day, giving him his robe and armor. And his loyalty was proven true when he rescued David a number of times from the jealous rage of his father. Although Saul saw David as a threat to his kingdom, Jonathan saw him as his intimate friend, and that friendship lasted until his death.
We all need a true friend who’s loyal and impacts our lives. As we look at the characteristics of such a friend, we should ask ourselves if we have someone like this in our lives and whether we are this kind of friend to someone else. Consider these qualities of intimate friends. They:
Delight us. We enjoy being with them and often make plans to meet again.
Develop us. Their encouragement and involvement in our lives help us become better persons—as God desires us to be.
Drive us. These are the friends who make an awesome difference in our lives because they see the potential in us and want to contribute to that potential by looking for ways to encourage, help, and challenge us.
Genuine friends are a valuable blessing from the Lord, but the wrong friends are a negative influence that drags us down. That’s why it’s so important to evaluate our relationships to make sure they are uplifting and devoted.
This article was originally published on May 6, 2016, and is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Strong Friendships (Part 1),” which airs this weekend on TV.