May 15, 2023

“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.”

-Proverbs 27:9

Growing up, I had a core group of friends.  Mostly I think it was our proximity to one another that helped forge our bond.  We all lived in the same subdivision and we moved in a pack throughout the neighborhood, playing wiffle ball at one house, basketball at another, riding bikes everywhere we could.  If you have ever watched “Stand By Me” or even the “Goonies,” I think we were like those friend groups depicted in the movies.  As is prone to happen, we grew apart because we moved to different neighborhoods, different states, switched schools, there wasn’t anything that truly united us beyond the activities I mentioned earlier.  Of course, thanks to social media, we still keep up-to-date on the events in each other's lives, but there is a definite lack of substance to these friendships. 

Throughout the course of my life, I have experienced friendships that have come and gone, but in the past couple of years, I have found a new type of friendship, one that has meaning, one that demonstrates a closer bond.  Now, I’m not some hermit that never goes out, I’m actually much more social than I was when I was younger, but now I have found the benefit of Christ-centered friendships and I have learned just how impactful those relationships can truly be.  I have found these friendships, these meaningful and impactful relationships, in my church and within the bonds of the Baptist Bikers of Kentucky.  Any one of these people, I trust with anything and everything about me.  I trust them to guide me, I trust them to speak into my life, and I trust them to pray for me just as I pray for them.  

As I have gotten older, I have found that I am much more selective about who my friends are, my close friends at least.  Those individuals I would trust with anything and whose counsel is of the utmost importance to me.  Jesus, himself, demonstrated this great importance of having friends as he said to his disciples in John 15:15

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

-John 15:15

A very unlikely friendship, yet a very powerful friendship, is found in the Old Testament between Jonathan and David.  Jonathan was the son of King Saul, the very same King Saul who wished to see David dead.  But this animosity between David and Saul had no impact on the friendship between Jonathan and David, as a matter of fact I am sure it was a great risk to Jonathan to remain friends with David.  In 1 Samuel we read of how Jonathan warned David to flee, simply because of the brotherly love they shared.  Jonathan did not want to see any harm come to him.  Look at these words in 1 Samuel chapter 20:

“And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most.  Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.”

-1 Samuel 20:41,42

Both men were so distraught at this affront to their bond that they wept.  But Jonathan says something very striking in verse 42, he indicates that they have sworn a vow of friendship in the name of the Lord.  This is not just some casual acquaintance, these men are brothers in faith and in life.  David even went on to care for Jonathan’s son, after Jonathan was killed in battle.  

Friendship is a God-ordained and blessed relationship. God will use these carefully-chosen friends to help you grow in your faith while at the same time providing you with opportunities to help them grow, too. Building and maintaining such vital friendships are echoed in the words of Paul in his letter to Thessalonica:

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

-1 Thessalonians 5:11

So take time to cultivate those friendships God has blessed you with. These are the relationships that will carry you through for a lifetime.

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