In the words of musical artist Bill Withers in his hit song Lean on Me, “We all need somebody to lean on.”
Friendship is one of the greatest blessings God has given us to enjoy in this life here on earth.
However, friendships among men are in dire shape.
Alan Loy McGinnis, an expert researcher and psychologist, estimates that only 10% of men have any real friendships in their lifetime.
Frankly, this is a heartbreaking and inexcusable statistic. What are some steps we as men can take to build the real, lasting friendships that are so vital yet so neglected today?
The answer to our question comes in 1 Samuel 18, where we will be focusing on Verses 1-5. These verses show the start of a friendship between David and King Saul’s son, Jonathan, that has served as the poster child of friendships countless times.
In Verse 1, Jonathan first meets David immediately after David has just killed Goliath. Jonathan is obviously amazed at what David had to say about his victory, because Verse 1 says “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” That’s some pretty crazy stuff right there!
Later we see in Verse 4 that Jonathan gave David his royal robe, armor, sword, bow, and belt. In giving these royal possessions to David, Jonathan is showing his great loyalty to their friendship.
More importantly, he is showing great humility by acknowledging David as the next king, instead of himself.
Being the king’s son, he was expected to be the next king after Saul, but Jonathan had enough humility to know that David was chosen by God to be the next king.
Most of us would have a hard time giving up our future kingship to someone else at all, much less becoming best friends with them and voluntarily giving them all your royal garments as an act of loyalty!
This is a picture of true, radical, God-glorifying, soul-building friendship!
How can we as Christian men today implement what we see here in 1 Samuel 18:1-5? I see two main things we can work at.
- Humility: Jonathan showed humility in acknowledging David as the future king. Today you can show humility in a number of ways in your friendships.
- Acknowledging when you’re wrong: When you realize that you have wronged a friend and sinned against them, have humility and confess it to them, asking for them to forgive you. (Matthew 5:23-24)
- Confessing your sin and asking for help: We can’t fight sin on our own, and it’s prideful to think that we can. First of all we need God’s help, but secondly we need the humility to ask our friends for help too. Find a brother in Christ and keep each other accountable on the sins you most struggle with. (Galatians 6:1-2)
- Sacrifice: Jonathan showed great sacrifice in giving up his royal garments to David and loving him as his own soul! There are so many ways you can sacrifice for your friends. Here are a few.
- Sacrifice your time: Giving valuable, quality time to just talk and support your friends is a huge act of sacrifice.
- Sacrifice your resources: Maybe your friend is in need. Sacrifice your resources to help them out. Or maybe you just want to bless them in a special way. Show them you care by giving gifts to them.
- Sacrifice your own interests: Put what your friends want over what you want. Maybe they want to go to a movie and you don’t. Go with them anyway. That’s sacrifice!
If you seek to have humility and try to sacrifice of your time, resources, and interests for your friends, you will be well on your way to glorifying God and building more lasting, meaningful, helpful friendships that challenge you to be more like Christ!
Let’s talk in the comments below:
- How have friendships impacted you personally?
- In what ways specifically in your life can you demonstrate humility and sacrifice in your friendships?