Sports director Greg King led the boys’ Bible study this morning and focused on friendships. He began by asking the question: What kind of friend do you want?
Won’t put you down?
Servant of the Lord?
These are all qualities of good friends, and the kind of friend that we must be. Proverbs 18:24 reads: “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” We must live by Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:12: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
A good friend is one who will lift you up, bring you joy, and be truthful with you–one who is godly and spiritual. Friends are the first ones in when the world kicks you out. Friendships exist because friends have things in common and we look for qualities in friends that we are lacking and want to develop within ourselves. Friends influence, help, and encourage one another–they help polish and develop our character. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17).
We should all strive for friends like David and Jonathan. David was a shepherd boy who was strong, faithful, brave, trustworthy, dependable, and God was on his side–he was a man of “iron” character. Jonathan was a prince in line for the throne, brave, fought the Philistines, and served God–the Lord worked for Jonathan (I Samuel 14:6). David and Jonathan had very compatible personalities and they “made a covenant, because [Jonathan] loved [David] as his own soul” (I Samuel 18:1-4).
We must not be selfish and put our own interests above others–don’t be selfish with our time or our belongings. “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man on the things of others” — Philippians 2:1-4. We must constantly look out for others, not ourselves.
When choosing friends, don’t base your friendship on wealth or popularity. We must base friendships on a right heart. In I Samuel 19:1-7, King Saul wanted to kill David, but Jonathan stood up for him. He wanted to protect his friend because he loved him–he stuck up for David. Jonathan was a true example of Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” “And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth” (I Samuel 23:16,17).
Jonathan consoled, comforted, and encouraged David not to give up or give in. Friends are necessary when life gets hard. David was a man after God’s own heart, but he still needed a friend with strong character. Like David and Jonathan, we should choose wisely when we choose friends–their relationship with God should be the #1 priority. Choose friends who put their affection on things above (Colossians 3:2). The Proverb writer in chapter 1 verses 10-19 stated that a father warns his son to choose his friends wisely. We should never choose unequal partners as friends (II Corinthians 6:14-18). Always remember: “Be not deceived: evil companionships corrupt good morals” (I Corinthians 15:33).