PART 8. GOD'S FRIENDSHIP (13/1/20)
Updated: Jan 19, 2020
INTRODUCTION TO WEEK 8
Without good friends, we will be stunted in our growth. If we have bad friends we will wither. However, if we have good friends, our relationship with God and His work in and through us will flow.
David had a Jonathan, he also had a Nathan, both of whom encouraged and challenged him to be better.
Darren Hardy in his book The Compound Effect writes,
“According to research by social psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, the people you habitually associate with determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life.”
Jim Rohn said something similar,
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Now I don’t know if these are entirely accurate, but my experience leads me to agree with the essence of these quotes. If I’m around people who inspire me, I stretch myself. If someone shares how they are seeking to improve in their relationship with God, their marriage, their health, a skill… It stirs me from passivity. I’ve also seen people who were passionate for God or a healthy activity, lose their faith, take up unhealthy habits because of who they allow to influence them.
In fact, the bible also backsup the essence of this quote,
‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.’ (Proverbs 27:17)
If we don’t want to approach life with a blunt axe - dull and ill-prepared, we need the habit of investing in good friendships.
MONDAY – GOD’S FRIENDSHIP
David’s victory is a picture of Jesus’ victory for us
Jonathan was Saul’s son and heir to the kingdom. Jonathan is an exceptional character in the bible. We know that he was a great warrior who was mindful of and dependent upon God (see 1 Samuel 14:6-15). However, it’s David, and not Jonathan, who kills Goliath - the nation’s enemy. It’s David and not Jonathan who is chosen to be the next king.
1 Samuel 17:57-58. As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head. ‘Whose son are you, young man?’ Saul asked him. David said, ‘I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.
How will Jonathan deal with these humbling circumstance? He could feel threatened and humiliated at being saved by David - a nobody!
David’s victory is a picture of Jesus saving us. We couldn’t do it ourselves, so He died to save us. How will we respond to God’s sacrificial friendship to us?
We can despise the cross in two ways: We can judge it as a silly story that has no merit; we can also be insulted by it, pridefully believing that we can employ our effort to live the righteous life in order to be saved. Jonathan models what our response should be to Jesus’ friendship,
One in Spirit
1 Samuel 18:1-2. After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family.
Jonathan, unlike his father, is not threatened by David; he comes to love him - becoming ‘one in spirit and loved him as himself’. One in spirit means a few things including:
To love someone in such a way that you share the same aims. It’s to care for someone like you care for yourself. When someone becomes a Christians we also become one in ’Spirit’ - A Christian is made alive, has the Spirit dwelling in them and can be empowered and experience His presence.
Can you say of Jesus, ‘I love you like I love myself and am one with you in spirit and Spirit?
To this end let's allow God’s word to change our hearts. This week I’d like us to meditate on and memorise a text that relates to friendship with God and people.
Matthew 22:37-39. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”
‘Love’ is often misused as meaning doing what feels right for you or something equally selfish. However, we must remember that God defines love as laying your life down for the good of another, particularly those who don’t deserve it (‘the good’ being what is in line with God’s will). To put it another way, to love is to employ all our energy to help others, even those we find hard to like, to know and follow Jesus.
i) Some questions to help in meditation:
Biblical meditation is to prayerfully read, repeatedly, a section of the bible and pray, worship and respond as God leads. A few questions you could use when meditating:
GOSPEL- What does this text say about salvation through Jesus?
UP- What does this text say about God – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?
IN- What does this text say about the church and how we are to relate?
OUT- What does this text say about non-believers and our mission?
RESPONSE – Is there anything you want to pray, worship God about, do, ask forgiveness about, ask God to help you to change…?
ii) Memorise Matthew 22:37-39
A few tips:
Include the reference.
Read it slowly and carefully x 10
Recall it, without looking as much as possible x10
Do this a few times through the day
Revise regularly (and revise previously memorised verses)
Make it a habit to learn new verses - skill comes over time