Soul of My Soul

“Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt.”

 
1 Samuel 18:3-4

 
This month our church family is setting aside Sunday, August 18 as “Friend Day”. A special service to appreciate the gift of friendship we read bout in our Bible and it also serves as an opportunity to invite our friends to church to hear about the greatest friendship known to man. The friendship God offers to us! The Bible is full of great stories regarding friendship and in 1 Samuel 18 we read of one of the greatest chapters in all the bible regarding masculine love and male friendship. Yet, it’s also a beautiful testimony of the intimate love that can be shared between two people without sexual contact. The pure love of friendship, the love that the bible calls in the Greek language “philo” which is the love between two friends and is shared at the deepest level of the soul like we read about here in 1 Samuel 18.

Dr. James Dobson many years ago said something to the effect that the man or woman who has even one person in this life that they can truly bare their heart and soul is a very fortunate person and truly blessed. It’s so true! Friends that don’t abandon you are hard to come by, friends that will stand with you in the worst of times just as willingly as they would enjoy hanging out with you in the good times are rare treasures. David and Jonathan were two such friends, and Jesus is so much more this kind of friend to you and me!

Jonathan and David shared a very rare friendship and as we read their story we see why. They had a lot in common. Jonathan was the heir to the earthly throne of his father Saul just as David was heir to the throne of his Heavenly Father. Both Jonathan and David were mighty warriors; valiant men who would not back down from the fight yet they were tender enough to share their thoughts, their cares and even their fears with one another. That’s the means by which we achieve true friendship, vulnerability.

It is no simple task as only time can reveal a true friend. Most all of us have a frenemy, someone who once was a true friend who ended up as an enemy. Maybe you don’t have a frenemy but most of us have been burned by someone we thought was our friend, someone whom we allowed to get close to us and instead of being a confident that we could trust in, they broke our trust and exposed our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, yes, even our sins to others with the intent of tearing us down and hurting us and causing us shame. A lyric from an old Michael Card song comes to mind, “only a friend can betray a friend for a stranger has nothing to gain…”

What Jonathan and David shared was truly rare in this life and yet the Lord allowed us to see it modeled here to show us we not only can aspire to it ourselves, we can achieve it. To be “soul mates” as David and Jonathan became is love at its deepest level. As a matter of fact, David said that his love for Jonathan was greater than that of the women he had known and loved. Obviously, there are many schools of thought regarding why this is so but I believe the best reason is that the love David and Jonathan shared was love from the heart, love from the soul and not clouded by physical intimacy. This kind of love is deeper as it is the love of the heart, love of the soul, a kind of love that seeks the good of others instead of gratification of self.

The love David and Jonathan shared is the kind of love that prefers others better than themselves and is seen all through their life and even in death. Jonathan loved David as his own soul we read in chapter 18. Jonathan had such admiration for this man of God he gave him his robe of royalty. David was God’s man and Jonathan knew that the Lord’s hand was upon him mightily and rejoiced in the fact that God was with David. Jonathan’s willingness to give his robe was not only proof of his loyalty and friendship, it was proof that he recognized the anointing of God was upon David’s life and he wasn’t willing to fight against it. David exemplified courage and faith, leadership and vision. All-important aspects of any leaders life and Jonathan loved what he saw in David.

Read the story of David and Jonathan and ask the Lord to bring godly friends into your life that you can truly admire and desire to emulate by following their faith in God. Get with them often and pray together and invite the Holy Spirit to knit your soul with the souls of other like-minded friends who you can stand with faithfully in the battle of prayer knowing our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realm.

Years ago the Mormon Church had a billboard that has always stuck with me. It said, “the family that prays together stays together”. What joined David and Jonathan together was a covenant before God and that’s what kept them together too. They made a promise to each other before God and they stuck to it no matter what. It’s been said, “friends will stretch your vision or choke your dreams”. Surround yourself with people who care for you and not just about you or what they receive from you. Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Better still, seek to be the kind of friend you would want others to be to you.

Here is a life lesson most of us learn the hard way. “Never discuss your problems with people who can’t help contribute to the solution”. Remember, God cares for people through people and the people we share the intimate details of our lives with should be people who can and actually do have the ability to provide a godly solution. God uses friendships to shape and mold our lives not to sit and gossip, whine and complain with us or about us. I love that old expression that says, “how can you soar with the eagles if you are roosting with the chickens.” Jonathan was the type of friend who wanted David to soar to the height of his calling. May God bless you with a friend that you help to reach their peak too!

Jonathan was a special friend. When I think about the friendship between David and Jonathan I am reminded of that saying, “with some people you spend an evening; with others you invest it.” I too am blessed by the true friends God has brought into my own life since becoming a Christian, friends I can count on and share life with no matter if I am soaring like an eagle or roosting like a chicken. The body of Christ does in fact have men and women who have hearts like David and Jonathan, and though they are rare, they too are looking to connect, looking to make a difference in this life by making difference in the life of someone else. Don’t be discouraged in your search for such a friend. Simply start by being one.

Start by taking a step of faith, take a chance, set out to be like Jonathan is to David, become a friend to someone else first and then seek to be there for them through the thick and thin of life and then watch how God blesses your life in ways you can only imagine. You will be blessed that you did and so will your friend! Remember,

 
“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 18:24

I LOVE YOU!

Michael Osthimer

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