Home chapel content - October 2015

Who in the Whole Wide World is my Friend?

 

Text:  1 Samuel 20: 1 - 42

 

Memory Verse: Prov.18:24(NKJV) ‘A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

 

Introduction:

In order to have friends the bible encourages us to show ourselves to be friendly. The book of Proverbs is full of much wisdom about how to both be a friend and find a friend. There are fewer things in life that are more valuable than a good friend and the Bible is full of stories of some of the greatest friendships in history. Ideally to find a friend you need to be a friend. The memory verse states the key to having loyal friends or making friends in the first place....‘you have to show yourself friendly’. In this study, we are going to find out who our friends are, how to choose our friends and also look at a case study on David and Jonathan – a biblical model of friendship!


Who are my friends? - Figuring out who your friends are can be confusing, emotional and tricky! In order to determine who your friends are, it is pertinent to evaluate your friendships by considering several dimensions of your relationships. For example, how much time do you spend with this friend, does this friend communicate well with you, stand up for and support you? Throughout the process of evaluating your friendships, it is essential you remain patient, open, and honest!

  1. Assess the time you spend with your friends
  • Assess which of your friends ask you to hangout the most - Friends want to spend time with you. They set aside blocks in their schedules to spend time with you. They plan fun activities and adventures to experience with you. You reciprocate by asking they spend time with you too!

 

  • Determine which friends you spend the most time with - Friends are intentional about spending time with you. Your close friends attend all of your major life events, such as weddings and funerals. They are present at all of the little events too e.g. small birthday parties. Often, you hang out ‘just because’...no special occasion is needed to bring you together.

 

  • Consider why you spend time with your friends - Best friends spend time together because they genuinely enjoy one another’s company. They are not seasonal friends, they are there for you all year round. Your best friends don’t spend time with you only when it is convenient for them or because they want a favour from you.

 

  1. Evaluate your friend’s communication skill
  • Consider which of your friends are the best listeners - Best friends areactive listeners. When you speak, they should give you their full attention.

 

  • Determine which friends only talk about themselves - Best friends want to hear about each other’s struggles and triumphs, fears and dreams. Friends that constantly turn the conversation back to themselves are not your best friend. Friends that never ask you about your life or how you are feeling are not interested in getting to know you. If you or your friend has had a rough day, one person may dominate more of the conversation.
  • Evaluate your friends’ response times - Best friends respond to your text messages, return your calls, pick up the phone...even if you ring them at 2 A.M. Friends that fail to respond, or get round to it when they feel like it, are not reliable communicators.

 

  1. Consider your friend’s loyalty to you
  • Determine which of your friends can keep a secret - When you share a secret with your friends, they shouldn't tell the next person they bump into! Your relationship with your friends are built on mutual trust and respect. They don’t spread rumours about you, they squash them!
  • Decide which of your friends have your back - Friends stand up for each other no matter the circumstances. They stick up for you when you can’t defend yourself. They don’t join in on the bullying, add to the teasing, or spread a rumour about you!
  • Evaluate your friends’ willingness to forgive you - Everyone makes mistakes....even close friends. However, friends don’t hold grudges or give each other the silent treatment. Instead, they allow each other to explain why they are upset. They take part in a dialogue and not a screaming match. They apologise for their misgivings and learn from their mistakes. At the end of a fallout, they forgive each other.

 

  1. Consider your friend’s loyalty to you
  • Consider which of your friends are truly happy for you - When you experience success, your best friends should be the first people to congratulate you. Best friends are not competitive with one another, but supportive of each other. Jealous friends are not your best friends.
  • Evaluate their ability to encourage you - Best friends give each other an extra boost of confidence before a challenge. They build each other up with positivity, instead of tearing each other down with negative criticism. They don’t belittle each other.
  • Decide which of your friends are positive influences - Best friends hold each other to higher standards. Your best friends should steer you towards positive influences and decisions because they care for your safety, health, and happiness. Friends that place you in an awkward, embarrassing situation, do not have your best interest in mind.
  1. Reaching a conclusion on who your friends are
  • Reflect on your answers - Take some time to think about your answers to these questions.
  • Talk to your best friends - Once you have processed the information, make an effort to talk to your best friends. Let them know how much you appreciate them! Write them a card or take them out to dinner.
  • Continue to work on your friendships - Now that you have figured out who your best friends are, focus on further developing your relationships with them, continue to spend time with them and make an effort to be present at all of their major milestones and minor events. Keep the lines of communication open and never take them for granted.

 

Three key things about true friends

  • They can be trusted - A friend keeps a friend’s secrets to himself as Proverbs 17:9 says, ‘He who covers andforgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends.’ That is, a friend doesn’t gossip about friends’ faults and is quick to forgive them. A friend who repeats a matter (or gossips) can separate ‘even close friends.’ That is a key to true friendship. If you repeat something that a friend entrusted you with, that will likely be the end of that friendship or they will never come to you in confidence again.

 

  • They tell the truth - Your friends will tell you the truth even when it hurts. As Proverbs 27:5-6 says, ‘Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful’

It is better to hear it from a friend if you are doing something wrong because they truly care enough about you. A friend doesn’t want to see you hurt. The point is that the truth sometimes hurts, but flattery or patronising

               someone in the end, usually does more harm than good.

 

  • They beget godly behaviours - David understood that Jonathan was a true and loyal friend. He was a worshiper of the true God. Psalm 119:63 says, ‘I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.’ Those who fear God (which is a reverence and high respect for God) are good companions and make excellent friends. You will soon discover that their godly values will rub off on you and these types of friends can be accountability partners to each other. ‘The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding’Proverbs 28:28.

 

How to choose your friends

  • A person becomes more like those that they associate with. It is vitally important to choose your friends wisely.
  • Proverbs 13:20 warns us that we should ‘Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.’
  • Just like we are told, ‘you are what you eat’, so too we are warned to ‘not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared’ (Proverbs 22:24-25). Bad company corrupts good morals almost every time. You not only become ‘ensnared’ by them but “you may learn their ways.’ If you associate with hot-tempered people, you’re going to become hot-tempered yourself. Most often, we become like those we associate with.

Fair and foul Weather Friends

  • Friends stick with you during the hard times.
  • Trials and adversity can usually separate true friends from those who are just fair-weather friends. Why? Because, ‘A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity’ (Proverbs 17:17).
  • Jonathan and David had one of the greatest friendships ever known. So much so that, ‘Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself’ (I Samuel18:3).
  • In fact, it is recommended for engaged couples to become friends first and foremost, before they get married. This type of friendship is an image of the relationship that Christ has for the church. A relationship where He literally died for His bride. In this same way, a friend loves his or her friend as they love themselves – through thick and thin, sickness and health, poverty and wealth.

 

A Biblical Model of Friendship – Case Study: David and Jonathan - If you want to know what true friendship is, the greatest biblical model ever known is that of David and Jonathan. Jonathan was the son of David’s enemy, King Saul. Saul was out to kill David because he was insanely jealous of him and knew that he would replace him on the throne of Israel. Saul’s son Jonathan knew this and was such a loyal friend of David that he alerted David of the danger and literally saved his life when he found out that Saul wanted to kill David. Jonathan told David that, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you” (I Samuel 20:4). We can read just how loyal a friend Jonathan was to David in I Samuel 20 (our main text).

 

In Conclusion - The fact is that friends are indispensable in this life. The older a person gets the more valued their friendship becomes. Many friends are closer than brothers or sisters are to each other. There is something special about having a friend that you can confide in, tell your troubles too, and share your life with. It has been said that a sorrow shared is halved, but a joy shared is doubled. Proverbs 27:10a says, ‘Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family’ because you may need that friend in a day of trouble. The value of friends is one of the most important things in a person’s life: Their worth are not diminished by time, not devalued by inflation, not worn out by use, but like a fine wine, they improve with time. So are friends to those who have them; like medicine to the soul or as Proverbs 27:9 says, “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.”

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