So in order for me to continue explaining to you about Community and how it has defined my life, I must re-visit the realizations that have gotten me to the place I am as far as friendships. I want to show you a blog I posted some time ago – a throwback, sort of. It covers the foundation of what I want to say about friendships – and next time we discuss this beautiful topic, I will share what I’ve learned since August 2011 when this appeared on my old blog.
So without further ado…
By the time David had finished reporting to Saul, Jonathan was deeply impressed with David—an immediate bond was forged between them. He became totally committed to David. From that point on he would be David’s number-one advocate and friend. (1 Samuel 18:1)
He loved David more than his own soul! (1 Samuel 20:17)
True Friendship… here a picture is painted.
Two unlikely friends – Jonathan, the young Prince of Israel – David, a poor shepherd boy, but God’s anointed as the next King of Israel.
Do you think Jonathan didn’t know that in the usual lineage of Kings’ successors he should have inherited the throne? Don’t believe he could have been that naïve… is father, King Saul, pretty much shoved it down his throat everyday that David lived and breathed. Saul tried his best to kill David – envy and anger ate at his soul from the moment God’s hand of favour left Saul’s life.
But Jonathan’s deep love for David transcended the mind of his worldly father.
Jonathan knew God’s anointed, and would not rest until David was put in his place as King. Even risking (and eventually losing) his life, Jonathan knew the honour and favour of God that would come from protecting the future King.
What would happen if we understood friendship like that?
What kind of honour, favour, and blessings would be bestowed upon us, if we – instead of seeking our own success in life – instead built our lives around encouraging and pushing others forward.
What selflessness would abound!
What a better world we would have!
Years later, after Jonathan & David are long dead, a man named Jesus Christ – the son of David – came to show the world true love like that only even more powerful! He was the Son of God and his love took him to a horrible cross, he died and overcame death and all our troubles and fears.
The Bible says we are the body of Christ… this means we are connected.
As a body, how can we function without each other?
I have a couple of personal stories to share about this…
I have the privilege of working with one of my best friends – Elsbeth.
We have a unique friendship. A true Proverbs “Iron sharpens iron” relationship.
I love her to death – she loves me – we get on each other’s nerves – we are very much sisters. J
Yesterday at work I was in a bad mood about something (I even forget what it was now) and I was letting it hurt our friendship, (though I was more to blame, on this one).
I returned from a lunch break (to just get away) and what’s the first thing my dear friend does?
She chooses that moment to come up, massage my back, and pray for me.
It was such a sincere moment, I felt so convicted.
Isn’t this how God treats us?
In our moments of weakness, negativity, and pain… He loves.
The bible even says “While we were yet sinners, He died for us.”
Such profound love is only capable through Jesus Christ.
Another thing about the body – we are called to be advocates and cheerleaders for each other.
An advocate is one who speaks for another.
This is the selflessness I mentioned earlier – for who is more unselfish than one who puts others first at the risk of promoting others before himself?
This is not something you see often in our world today.
We seem obsessed with being first and climbing the ladder to success.
The thing about this is that we usually trample someone on the way up!
How is hurting and pushing down helping to build the body of Christ?
As a member of the body of Christ, we are called to be different from the world!
In this race we call life, we are all called to be runners AND we are all called to be cheerleaders!
A cheerleader is one who believes in their team even when they are not at their best. They are constantly encouraging and uplifting the spirits of their fellow team-mates.
A cheerleading friend is a true friend.
A “Jonathan” type of friend.
One who is willing to put aside all his selfish desires and pray, lift up, and encourage his friend to succeed in his calling.
I know what you’re thinking. You wonder if you start to put others first, what will happen to YOUR dreams and desires? Doesn’t God have a calling on your life too?
You bet He does.
But will He honour you for a sacrifice and a pure heart to see your friend succeed in His calling?
You bet. J
Besides… Jesus said: If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
Another personal story.
I have a few AH-MAZING friends who demonstrate cheerleading friendship to me by consistently believing in me (even when I don’t believe in myself) and encouraging me on in everything I do.
I love them so much, I hope someday I can be there for them as much as they are for me.
Tonight I got home from work and felt a lot of fears filling my heart (I won’t get into that because this is not the point of my story).
I texted my girls and asked for prayer – and one in particular called me out and encouraged me to fight back the enemy’s lies by quoting the word.
Another encouraged me by saying “perfect love casts out fear”…
After a good long talk with Jesus and quoting a LOT of scripture, I texted them back.
With so much love, my beautiful cheerleading friend simply stated that she loved me, couldn’t stand to see the enemy keep me in a foothold, and that’s what she was here for – To build and encourage the body of Christ.
You see, a cheerleading friend will speak into your life and lovingly state:
“If YOU are winning, then I have won.”
I want to leave you with one last thought on cheerleading friendship.
One that I believe is key to everything I just talked about.
Remember Job? He had problems… and he had friends who were slightly less than encouraging.
But God honoured him for his faith.
Look at this:
And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10)
So friends – wherever you are tonight. Whatever struggles you face. Whatever lies the enemy has you ensnared in…
Take heart – have faith in a very real God who loves you enough to send His Son to display true love for you.
Then turn around and begin to PRAY for your friends…
God will bless you beyond your wildest dreams.
A side note: if you are reading this and you find yourself without friends (my heart weeps for you) – remember there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother – His name is Jesus. He loves you more than life.
And then start asking Him to send you people who will be an encouragement to you as you are an encouragement to them.
I pray you find a real friend you can build up and be a “Jonathan” towards…
Something I’ve been learning – in regards to Job’s prayer for his friends.
If I pray FOR my friends and they pray for me, we often get answered faster than if we pray selfishly.
Try it. I bet you won’t be disappointed.