Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD… 1 Samuel 20:42
Sworn friendship in the name of the Lord is serious and based on faith. When Jesus Christ is the central figure in a friendship, there is fidelity. Loyalty based on the Lord is an extremely strong bond for friends. There is no wavering of commitment when Christ is central to the friendship. A friendship based on the Lord takes on the Lord’s attitude toward friendship. He sticks closer than a brother. He never leaves or forsakes His friends. Jesus personified friendship as He served His friends; forgave, loved, taught, rebuked, prayed, and gave to His friends. Sworn friendship is committed, especially during dire circumstances. There is a commitment to always be there for the other person. It seeks out the very best for a friend during hard times. This is when friendships require an exorbitant amount of time, money, and effort. They become high maintenance when they become caught in a crisis. It may be a situation of the friend’s own doing, or a result of forces outside his control. Your friend may be on the brink of bankruptcy because of poor financial decisions. You serve him even though he suffers from self-inflicted wounds. Your friend’s health may be going downhill fast; if so, be there to listen. Sworn friendship in the name of the Lord defends you to the point of risking a right standing with other respected relationships. Faithful friends will stand up for you even when it costs them. It may cost them their job. It may cost them misunderstanding. It may cost them a promotion. It may cost them financially. But, because they are invested in you unconditionally, they are honored to defend you, especially in your absence. They ask questions of your unseen critics such as, “Have you talked to them about this?” or “I’m surprised by what you say. There must be more to the story.” Friends stick up for each other in the face of caustic critics. Love is not silent; it speaks up. Sworn friendship in the name of the Lord lasts. It is not a fair weather friendship, but one that lasts through the ups and the downs. Acquaintances fade away over time, but faithful friendships based on God last for a lifetime. Therefore, take an inventory of your friendships. Define the ones built on God’s principles, and give these godly relationships greater value. Be intentional in your investment of time with sworn friendships in the name of the Lord. Do not take these special friendships for granted. Pray for them aggressively.
Above all else, cultivate your friendship with Christ. His model of friendship will raise the quality of your friendships. His friendship is forever. His friendship is immediately accessible. His friendship is honest and loving. His friendship is faithful. Jesus spoke eloquently about friends: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:13-15).
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