As I read in 1 Samuel in God’s Word about David and Jonathan’s very tight friendship, I’m drawn to consider with some hopefulness what power there is in believers considering the power of intentional friendships and developing them throughout their lives. I’ve been blessed with a lot of amazing “friends” and many are quite close. However, I’m forced when I read this account in God’s Word to consider which of my friendships have been extra deep, intentional, purposeful even.
When we unite in particular with our spouse in marriage or a friend we believe we are called to be very close with in a common labor of God’s love, something amazing happens. You can be at great distances from one another for long periods of time, and yet your friendship only deepens with time. David and Jonathan knew God had greater purposes than what they could see in any given day. God knit them together to hold to God and His purposes no matter the storms and in chapter 20, we see them torn up over having to part ways. I think of the old song that says, “And a friend’s a friend forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them…” One of the closest experiences I’ve had to this is with my buddy Zach Jones. We’ve wept together while watching the Passion of the Christ. He stood by me as I married my precious Carrie, and we have called one another and stayed in touch for some of our most trying difficulties. Thomas Atkins is another like this as well as Kevin Radman. Some of my more local and recent friends are Jedd and Grant Medefind along with their wives. Dave & Jenn Collie also fit in this category and many others. However, I’ve thought in the last several weeks how these friendships form and what glues them in our minds and hearts. What is the impact on our worship of God and pursuit of His purpose in our lives for His glory and the good of others?
My Facebook page shows that apparently I have over 1,500 “friends”. Oh no. That’s not true! Not true in the sense of this kind of depth of friendship. It is true in the sense that I like you all have many in my life I’ve touched or who have touched down in my life and there has been a warmth and tenderness whether in Christ or simply in some common ground. However, more intentional and focused friendships have some common aim, a passion sought together, a mutual calling.
Who fits this more intentional description in your life as you sit in the quiet before God? Who has God placed in your life to co-labor with and truly honor the Lord together with in the years to come? Like David and Jonathan, this doesn’t mean you get to spend every waking hour with them or even that you’ll get to co-labor in the same region or town long-term, but you deeply understand each other and share a passion in particular for Jesus. Within seconds during a phone call or in-person visit you don’t even have to say anything and you feel a deep connection of love in Jesus, a love for one another and for the Master of your souls. You’ve wrestled with this person even to the point of tears over the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and you can’t imagine where your relationship with Jesus Christ would be without this friend having wrestled with you through the message of the Cross.
I still remember being in Leesburg, VA in a beat up little theatre with Zach Jones. We sat in the front row as we watched the Passion and we literally wept through the majority of the movie together. We repented again of our sin before the Savior and remembered His sufferings for us. We spoke often after that of how impactful that was. We had many, many other hours of wrestling through the Gospel together, crying over our sinfulness, confessing, grieving the sorrow our sin brings to God and rejoicing in the hope Christ’s death gives us for Eternal Joy in Him. We worshiped God together just the two of us quite often during our short seasons of rooming together. We would go on runs and passionately share how much joy our Savior brings to our hearts and passionately we want to live all-in and all-out for Jesus Christ!
We won’t all have memories or even make memories exactly like this, but make a close friendship if you haven’t already where you are encountering Jesus Christ and the message of the Cross together. Wrestle with this friend through what the implications are, the out-workings of this message in your life. What does it mean that we are accepting Jesus’ suffering in our place and knowing Jesus Christ as our Master, Lord, Redeemer, All-sufficient Sacrifice, Pearl of Great Price, Creator, Friend above all?!
Ultimately, our closest friendships are simply God’s gift to the other to draw us relentlessly into a pursuit of God’s heart in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When you read Paul’s writing, these kinds of friendships on purpose under Jesus are what break down so many social barriers. He is an intimate friend to those the Jews of the time were slow to even mingle with let alone call intimate friends.
Dear friends and family in Christ, may our friendliness increase this week and may we be more intentional with a key friend or two to grow in our awe and worship of this Jesus Christ.
After His heart with you,