March 5th

Friendship

16Then Jonathan, Saul's son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God. 17And he said to him, "Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows that."  1 Samuel 23:16-17 

This week I read this passage about Jonathan visiting David in the wilderness stronghold.  Saul was pursuing David and trying to kill him.  Jonathan encouraged David, telling him not to fear, Saul would not find him and that he would become King of Israel.  Jonathan’s encouragement and faith-filled words profoundly affected David.  They “strengthened his hand in God.”   

Wouldn’t it be great if every person could have a friend like Jonathan, who would risk his or her life to bring encouragement in the Lord.  When the enemy is pursuing us and the walls are closing in, we need friends who will come alongside and encourage us.  In such friendships we in turn can be friends to others when they are in difficulties and need encouragement. 

One of the ingredients to strong friendships is communication.  If we don’t tell people about our struggles, they will never know we need help. In fact, they may even think we never have problems and will be less likely to share their own challenges with us.  We need to have courage to be vulnerable with people and to tear down the walls of secrecy, pride and isolation that often surround us.  We must not let shame and fear keep us silent.  The irony is that there are many hurting people all around us that desperately need to know they are not alone.  Connecting with those people will open up God’s healing channels and give life to friendships built on honesty. 

I experienced a deepening of my relationships with my men’s prayer group after I told them about my deliverance from sex addiction.  At first, I was fearful about how the guys might react to my disclosure.  To my amazement, 5 out of the 6 men confessed that they too struggled (or had struggled) with sexual temptations.  As a result, we moved to a deeper level as a group and were able to encourage and pray for one another more effectively.  When people see that you are willing to be transparent with them, often that will open up doors to deeper communication and relationship. 

Our prayer for you today is that God will give you courage to open up to somebody about your struggle.  We pray that a friend like Jonathan will come alongside you and strengthen your hand in the Lord.  

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, thank you that you have made us to be united as the body of Christ.  Please help me to shed any attitudes that are keeping me from fully connecting with other Christians.  I ask for the gift of close friends who will encourage me in my relationship with you. Please show me what I can do in order to be a good friend to them.  Thank you, Father!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”