Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Real Friendship’

Find Your “Happy Few” – Real Friendship

Real FriendshipDavid and Jonathan. Even centuries later those names linked together spell close, committed male friendship. They shatter our era’s stereotypes.

These men were, after all, battle-hardened warriors with a daredevil streak. And natural rivals. But mutual loyalty took priority over career calculations.

Interact with God’s Word:  1 Samuel 18:1-4;1 Samuel 20:8-17;1 Samuel 23:15-18

  1. From the get-go (18:1), Jonathan and David hit it off. Have you ever felt that way about another guy?
  2. What do you make of Jonathan’s vow (18:3)? Why does maintaining a deep friendship require deliberate effort?
  3. What do Jonathan’s words, in 20:9, tell you about the transparency a close friendship requires?
  4. Their covenant (20:14-16) committed David and Jonathan to sacrificial care for each other. How do we know (see 2 Samuel 9) that David took this obligation seriously?
  5. Jonathan’s concerns were as strong for David’s welfare as for his own, we’re told in 20:17. What did this mean (23:17) for prospects of succeeding to his father’s throne?
  6. Commitment to God (23:16) anchored David and Jonathan’s relationship. Is another man encouraging you to stay strong in your faith? Are you doing the same for him?

Spend Time in Prayer:  Ask God to help you build a mutually supportive relationship with at least one other man—one that digs deep into matters of faith and character.

1 Samuel 18:1-4;1 Samuel 20:8-17;1 Samuel 23:15-18

1 Samuel 18 1 After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David. 2 From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return home. 3 And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. 4 Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt.

1 Samuel 20 8 Show me this loyalty as my sworn friend—for we made a solemn pact before the Lord—or kill me yourself if I have sinned against your father. But please don’t betray me to him!”

9 “Never!” Jonathan exclaimed. “You know that if I had the slightest notion my father was planning to kill you, I would tell you at once.”

10 Then David asked, “How will I know whether or not your father is angry?”

11 “Come out to the field with me,” Jonathan replied. And they went out there together. 12 Then Jonathan told David, “I promise by the Lord, the God of Israel, that by this time tomorrow, or the next day at the latest, I will talk to my father and let you know at once how he feels about you. If he speaks favorably about you, I will let you know. 13 But if he is angry and wants you killed, may the Lord strike me and even kill me if I don’t warn you so you can escape and live. May the Lord be with you as he used to be with my father. 14 And may you treat me with the faithful love of the Lord as long as I live. But if I die, 15 treat my family with this faithful love, even when the Lord destroys all your enemies from the face of the earth.”

16 So Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, a saying, “May the Lord destroy all your enemies!” 17 And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself.

1 Samuel 23 15 One day near Horesh, David received the news that Saul was on the way to Ziph to search for him and kill him. 16 Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. 17 “Don’t be afraid,” Jonathan reassured him. “My father will never find you! You are going to be the king of Israel, and I will be next to you, as my father, Saul, is well aware.” 18 So the two of them renewed their solemn pact before the Lord. Then Jonathan returned home, while David stayed at Horesh.

Prayer for the Week: Lord, I invite you to work in my life through a real friend. And please use me in his life as well.

 

 

Find Your “Happy Few” – No Walls Between Friends

Real FriendshipKey Bible Verse: A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. Proverbs 17:17.

Bonus Reading: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Recently I underwent a battery of medical tests to determine the cause of severe stomach pain. I feared the worst. An upper G.I. test revealed some kind of inflammation in the intestines. There was also a spot on my spine that looked odd. I lost about seven pounds and became so overwhelmed by fear that I closed up and sealed myself off from others.

During that week of tests, a friend came over to the house to see how I was doing. Since I hadn’t reached out, he reached out to me. Paul just fired away. “Hey, Todd, how come you’re not letting your friends stand with you during this time? You and Kenny [Luck] are writing all this curriculum about how men need to be connected with other men, and here you are isolated! How come you’re shutting out your best friends when you need them most?”

Yikes! Did he really say that? But he was right. I’d called some of my friends to let them know what was going on, but I hadn’t really included them in the process. It was too painful. I didn’t want to talk about it. I just wanted it to go away. You always know who your friends are. They’re the ones who never give up on you.

—Todd Wendorff in Being God’s Man … in Tough Times

My Response: How does the male tendency to tough it out alone frustrate friendships?

Adapted from Being God’s Man … in Tough Times (WaterBrook, 2003)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, I invite you to work in my life through a real friend. And please use me in his life as well.

 

 

Find Your “Happy Few” – Real Soul Brothers

Real FriendshipKey Bible Verse: There was an immediate bond of love between them, and they became the best of friends. 1 Samuel 18:1

Bonus Reading: 1 Sam. 18:1-4; ; 20:8-17

If a friendship deepens over time, intimacy increases in depth and breadth. In fact, this is one of the best measures of a growth in a friendship.

Spiritual friends share with each other at the level of their soul. This doesn’t mean that they talk about only serious, personal, or spiritual matters. However, if they never share at this level, the relationship is not worthy of being called a spiritual—or soul—friendship. Soul refers to the whole person, with particular attention to one’s inner life. Soul intimacy, therefore, is built on sharing the inner self. Sharing at the level of their souls means that friends’ intimacy is not restricted to experiences with the external world.

Friends who enjoy soul intimacy never settle for gossip or simple information exchange. Instead, they use the data of events as springboards for the sharing of feelings, perceptions, values, ideas, and opinions.

The conversations of such friends are never merely about what happened in their lives or the world, but move from this to how they experience, react to, and understand what happened. Dialogue continually moves from the surface to the depths, from the external to the internal. This is the crucial distinctive of dialogue in spiritual friendships.

—David Benner in The Transformation of a Man’s Heart

My Response: Would I find sharing at this level scary or attractive? Why?

Thought to Apply: “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.” —William Shakespeare (Henry V’s St. Crispin’s Day speech)

Adapted from The Transformation of a Man’s Heart (InterVarsity, 2006)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, I invite you to work in my life through a real friend. And please use me in his life as well.

 

 

Find Your “Happy Few” – Why Friendships Wither

Real FriendshipKey Bible Verse: Never abandon a friend—either yours or your father’s. Then in your time of need, you won’t have to ask your relative for assistance. Proverbs 27:10

Bonus Reading: Proverbs 18:24; 19:4,6; 20:6; 19:4,6;; 20:6

There’s a line in Woody Allen’s film Annie Hall where he says to Diane Keaton, “A relationship, I think, is like a shark, you know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we’ve got on our hands is a dead shark.”

Some friendships die because they aren’t moving forward—from stagnation or neglect. You meant to call but didn’t. You knew it was his birthday but were too busy to celebrate.

Friendships need to be nurtured. When we’re busy, we only do what comes easily, and even good friendships aren’t always easy. So if your friend has an annoying trait, if he’s loud, or cheap, or a habitual complainer, say, you’re more likely to neglect the relationship. Of course, the same is true when your friend is neglecting you.

But whether it’s you or him, neglect is sure to cause a rift. And when it does, it almost always catches us off guard, when we’re going through stressful times at school, work, or home that makes us less attentive and less able to respond. That’s why it can seem that the best friendships fail precisely when we need them the most.

—Les and Leslie Parrott in ChristianityToday.com

My Response: In what ways do I do “what comes easy” in relationships?

Thought to Apply: The most fatal disease of friendship is gradual decay. Friendships must be kept in constant repair. —Samuel Johnson (English writer)

Adapted from ChristianityToday.com (12/02).

Prayer for the Week: Lord, I invite you to work in my life through a real friend. And please use me in his life as well.

 

 

Find Your “Happy Few” – Beyond Comfortable to Stretching

Real FriendshipKey Bible Verse: As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17

Bonus Reading: Prov. 27:6, 9

There’s a certain “niceness” to friendships where I can be, as they say, myself. But what I really need is relationships in which I’m encouraged to become better than myself, developing to be more Christlike each day.

Stanley Jones, an American missionary to India, wrote of penning a response to a letter from a harsh critic. Irritated by the letter, Jones gave vent to his feelings of hurt and defensiveness. But before he mailed his response, he offered his friends a chance to read it and to offer judgment. When the unsent letter was returned to him, he saw that one of his “happy few” had written across the top “not sufficiently redemptive.” Wise man that Jones was, he destroyed the letter. His friends had held him to a higher standard.

Among my “happy few” are a couple of thinkers who are unafraid to poke and prod into my mind with different viewpoints than I have. They challenge my politics, my theology, and my self-confidence about life-direction. They won’t let me slide by with intellectual superficiality.

Looking back across the years, I’ve asked myself, Who were the people I’ve appreciated the most? Almost every one of them is someone who was tough with me, who expected me to rise higher in character and conduct than I might have by myself.

—Gordon MacDonald in A Resilient Life

My Response: Have I given a friend permission to hold me to a higher standard?

Thought to Apply: To speak painful truth through loving words is friendship. —Henry Ward Beecher (minister)

Adapted from A Resilient Life (Nelson, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, I invite you to work in my life through a real friend. And please use me in his life as well.

 

 

Find Your “Happy Few” – From Casual to Close

Real FriendshipKey Bible Verse: Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  –  Romans 12:10.

Bonus Reading: John 13:34-35

Some people make friends easily. It’s harder for the rest of us. Most friendships begin casually and will stay that way, because they’re based on a few things you have in common (like where you work, where you live, or where you worship). But with some casual friends, you’ll sense similar commitments in faith, character, and integrity. You’ll intentionally start spending more time together. That’s how meaningful friendships begin: slowly.

Close friends appreciate each other’s similarities, but don’t allow each other’s differences to divide them. They encourage each other. Overcoming their natural inclinations to hold a grudge, they’re quick to forgive each other. Why? Because they firmly believe the other would never do anything to intentionally offend them, and because it interferes with the relationship.

Your casual friends will be around whenever they need you. But when the going gets tough, shallow friendships evaporate. Your closest friends will be around whenever you need them. Tough times strengthen a close friendship because the bond of commitment to each is revealed. Difficult circumstances usually give one friend the opportunity to act sacrificially for the sake of the other.

—Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz in Simple Matters

My Response: Someone I could benefit from spending more time with is …

Adapted from Simple Matters (Promise Press, 2001)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, I invite you to work in my life through a real friend. And please use me in his life as well.

 

Find Your “Happy Few” – Disposable Friendships?

Real FriendshipWho Said It…Jerome Daly

Jerome Daly pursues the passion of his life—intimacy with God and people—in partnership with his wife, Kellie. Through oneFlesh Ministries, the Daleys speak, write, and lead worship.

Jerome likes to return—with his three children or alone on writing retreats—to the house his grandfather built in a Blue Ridge Mountain town.

What He Said…Disposable Friendships?

We live in a disposable society—we change jobs, change cities, and change relationships with dizzying frequency. But that’s our culture, not our spiritual DNA. We’re designed for lasting relationships—lifelong marriages and, yes, even lifelong friendships.

I’m convinced that community ripens over time and only grows sweet and nourishing in the context of commitment and longevity. We mustn’t be such willing slaves to the dictates of this world’s system! The practice of replacing our friendships as regularly as we replace our wardrobes or automobiles assures us of an untested crew when the inevitable storms arise.

And these are just the personal deficits; what about the larger losses? The world is supposed to recognize us as Jesus’ disciples because of our committed love for one another; this uncommon selflessness will demonstrate the lordship of Christ in a way no preaching can. However, if we bail on one another as soon as we encounter difficulty, then we merely reinforce our superficiality. The Kingdom of God requires more of us.

Adapted from When God Waits (WaterBrook, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, I invite you to work in my life through a real friend. And please use me in his life as well.

 

 

Find Your “Happy Few” – Real Friendship

Real FriendshipDavid and Jonathan. Even centuries later those names linked together spell close, committed male friendship. They shatter our era’s stereotypes.

These men were, after all, battle-hardened warriors with a daredevil streak. And natural rivals. But mutual loyalty took priority over career calculations.

Interact with God’s Word:  1 Samuel 18:1-4;1 Samuel 20:8-17;1 Samuel 23:15-18

  1. From the get-go (18:1), Jonathan and David hit it off. Have you ever felt that way about another guy?
  2. What do you make of Jonathan’s vow (18:3)? Why does maintaining a deep friendship require deliberate effort?
  3. What do Jonathan’s words, in 20:9, tell you about the transparency a close friendship requires?
  4. Their covenant (20:14-16) committed David and Jonathan to sacrificial care for each other. How do we know (see 2 Samuel 9) that David took this obligation seriously?
  5. Jonathan’s concerns were as strong for David’s welfare as for his own, we’re told in 20:17. What did this mean (23:17) for prospects of succeeding to his father’s throne?
  6. Commitment to God (23:16) anchored David and Jonathan’s relationship. Is another man encouraging you to stay strong in your faith? Are you doing the same for him?

Spend Time in Prayer:  Ask God to help you build a mutually supportive relationship with at least one other man—one that digs deep into matters of faith and character.

1 Samuel 18:1-4;1 Samuel 20:8-17;1 Samuel 23:15-18

1 Samuel 18 1 After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David. 2 From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return home. 3 And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. 4 Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt.

1 Samuel 20 8 Show me this loyalty as my sworn friend—for we made a solemn pact before the Lord—or kill me yourself if I have sinned against your father. But please don’t betray me to him!”

9 “Never!” Jonathan exclaimed. “You know that if I had the slightest notion my father was planning to kill you, I would tell you at once.”

10 Then David asked, “How will I know whether or not your father is angry?”

11 “Come out to the field with me,” Jonathan replied. And they went out there together. 12 Then Jonathan told David, “I promise by the Lord, the God of Israel, that by this time tomorrow, or the next day at the latest, I will talk to my father and let you know at once how he feels about you. If he speaks favorably about you, I will let you know. 13 But if he is angry and wants you killed, may the Lord strike me and even kill me if I don’t warn you so you can escape and live. May the Lord be with you as he used to be with my father. 14 And may you treat me with the faithful love of the Lord as long as I live. But if I die, 15 treat my family with this faithful love, even when the Lord destroys all your enemies from the face of the earth.”

16 So Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, a saying, “May the Lord destroy all your enemies!” 17 And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself.

1 Samuel 23 15 One day near Horesh, David received the news that Saul was on the way to Ziph to search for him and kill him. 16 Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. 17 “Don’t be afraid,” Jonathan reassured him. “My father will never find you! You are going to be the king of Israel, and I will be next to you, as my father, Saul, is well aware.” 18 So the two of them renewed their solemn pact before the Lord. Then Jonathan returned home, while David stayed at Horesh.

Prayer for the Week: Lord, I invite you to work in my life through a real friend. And please use me in his life as well.

 

 

Find Your “Happy Few” – No Walls Between Friends

Real FriendshipKey Bible Verse: A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. Proverbs 17:17.

Bonus Reading: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Recently I underwent a battery of medical tests to determine the cause of severe stomach pain. I feared the worst. An upper G.I. test revealed some kind of inflammation in the intestines. There was also a spot on my spine that looked odd. I lost about seven pounds and became so overwhelmed by fear that I closed up and sealed myself off from others.

During that week of tests, a friend came over to the house to see how I was doing. Since I hadn’t reached out, he reached out to me. Paul just fired away. “Hey, Todd, how come you’re not letting your friends stand with you during this time? You and Kenny [Luck] are writing all this curriculum about how men need to be connected with other men, and here you are isolated! How come you’re shutting out your best friends when you need them most?”

Yikes! Did he really say that? But he was right. I’d called some of my friends to let them know what was going on, but I hadn’t really included them in the process. It was too painful. I didn’t want to talk about it. I just wanted it to go away. You always know who your friends are. They’re the ones who never give up on you.

—Todd Wendorff in Being God’s Man … in Tough Times

My Response: How does the male tendency to tough it out alone frustrate friendships?

Adapted from Being God’s Man … in Tough Times (WaterBrook, 2003)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, I invite you to work in my life through a real friend. And please use me in his life as well.

 

 

Find Your “Happy Few” – Real Soul Brothers

Real FriendshipKey Bible Verse: There was an immediate bond of love between them, and they became the best of friends. 1 Samuel 18:1

Bonus Reading: 1 Sam. 18:1-4; ; 20:8-17

If a friendship deepens over time, intimacy increases in depth and breadth. In fact, this is one of the best measures of a growth in a friendship.

Spiritual friends share with each other at the level of their soul. This doesn’t mean that they talk about only serious, personal, or spiritual matters. However, if they never share at this level, the relationship is not worthy of being called a spiritual—or soul—friendship. Soul refers to the whole person, with particular attention to one’s inner life. Soul intimacy, therefore, is built on sharing the inner self. Sharing at the level of their souls means that friends’ intimacy is not restricted to experiences with the external world.

Friends who enjoy soul intimacy never settle for gossip or simple information exchange. Instead, they use the data of events as springboards for the sharing of feelings, perceptions, values, ideas, and opinions.

The conversations of such friends are never merely about what happened in their lives or the world, but move from this to how they experience, react to, and understand what happened. Dialogue continually moves from the surface to the depths, from the external to the internal. This is the crucial distinctive of dialogue in spiritual friendships.

—David Benner in The Transformation of a Man’s Heart

My Response: Would I find sharing at this level scary or attractive? Why?

Thought to Apply: “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.” —William Shakespeare (Henry V’s St. Crispin’s Day speech)

Adapted from The Transformation of a Man’s Heart (InterVarsity, 2006)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, I invite you to work in my life through a real friend. And please use me in his life as well.

 

 

Find Your “Happy Few” – Why Friendships Wither

Real FriendshipKey Bible Verse: Never abandon a friend—either yours or your father’s. Then in your time of need, you won’t have to ask your relative for assistance. Proverbs 27:10

Bonus Reading: Proverbs 18:24; 19:4,6; 20:6; 19:4,6;; 20:6

There’s a line in Woody Allen’s film Annie Hall where he says to Diane Keaton, “A relationship, I think, is like a shark, you know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we’ve got on our hands is a dead shark.”

Some friendships die because they aren’t moving forward—from stagnation or neglect. You meant to call but didn’t. You knew it was his birthday but were too busy to celebrate.

Friendships need to be nurtured. When we’re busy, we only do what comes easily, and even good friendships aren’t always easy. So if your friend has an annoying trait, if he’s loud, or cheap, or a habitual complainer, say, you’re more likely to neglect the relationship. Of course, the same is true when your friend is neglecting you.

But whether it’s you or him, neglect is sure to cause a rift. And when it does, it almost always catches us off guard, when we’re going through stressful times at school, work, or home that makes us less attentive and less able to respond. That’s why it can seem that the best friendships fail precisely when we need them the most.

—Les and Leslie Parrott in ChristianityToday.com

My Response: In what ways do I do “what comes easy” in relationships?

Thought to Apply: The most fatal disease of friendship is gradual decay. Friendships must be kept in constant repair. —Samuel Johnson (English writer)

Adapted from ChristianityToday.com (12/02).

Prayer for the Week: Lord, I invite you to work in my life through a real friend. And please use me in his life as well.

 

 

Find Your “Happy Few” – Beyond Comfortable to Stretching

Real FriendshipKey Bible Verse: As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17

Bonus Reading: Prov. 27:6, 9

There’s a certain “niceness” to friendships where I can be, as they say, myself. But what I really need is relationships in which I’m encouraged to become better than myself, developing to be more Christlike each day.

Stanley Jones, an American missionary to India, wrote of penning a response to a letter from a harsh critic. Irritated by the letter, Jones gave vent to his feelings of hurt and defensiveness. But before he mailed his response, he offered his friends a chance to read it and to offer judgment. When the unsent letter was returned to him, he saw that one of his “happy few” had written across the top “not sufficiently redemptive.” Wise man that Jones was, he destroyed the letter. His friends had held him to a higher standard.

Among my “happy few” are a couple of thinkers who are unafraid to poke and prod into my mind with different viewpoints than I have. They challenge my politics, my theology, and my self-confidence about life-direction. They won’t let me slide by with intellectual superficiality.

Looking back across the years, I’ve asked myself, Who were the people I’ve appreciated the most? Almost every one of them is someone who was tough with me, who expected me to rise higher in character and conduct than I might have by myself.

—Gordon MacDonald in A Resilient Life

My Response: Have I given a friend permission to hold me to a higher standard?

Thought to Apply: To speak painful truth through loving words is friendship. —Henry Ward Beecher (minister)

Adapted from A Resilient Life (Nelson, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, I invite you to work in my life through a real friend. And please use me in his life as well.

 

 

Find Your “Happy Few” – From Casual to Close

Real FriendshipKey Bible Verse: Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  –  Romans 12:10.

Bonus Reading: John 13:34-35

Some people make friends easily. It’s harder for the rest of us. Most friendships begin casually and will stay that way, because they’re based on a few things you have in common (like where you work, where you live, or where you worship). But with some casual friends, you’ll sense similar commitments in faith, character, and integrity. You’ll intentionally start spending more time together. That’s how meaningful friendships begin: slowly.

Close friends appreciate each other’s similarities, but don’t allow each other’s differences to divide them. They encourage each other. Overcoming their natural inclinations to hold a grudge, they’re quick to forgive each other. Why? Because they firmly believe the other would never do anything to intentionally offend them, and because it interferes with the relationship.

Your casual friends will be around whenever they need you. But when the going gets tough, shallow friendships evaporate. Your closest friends will be around whenever you need them. Tough times strengthen a close friendship because the bond of commitment to each is revealed. Difficult circumstances usually give one friend the opportunity to act sacrificially for the sake of the other.

—Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz in Simple Matters

My Response: Someone I could benefit from spending more time with is …

Adapted from Simple Matters (Promise Press, 2001)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, I invite you to work in my life through a real friend. And please use me in his life as well.

 

Find Your “Happy Few” – Disposable Friendships?

Real FriendshipWho Said It…Jerome Daly

Jerome Daly pursues the passion of his life—intimacy with God and people—in partnership with his wife, Kellie. Through oneFlesh Ministries, the Daleys speak, write, and lead worship.

Jerome likes to return—with his three children or alone on writing retreats—to the house his grandfather built in a Blue Ridge Mountain town.

What He Said…Disposable Friendships?

We live in a disposable society—we change jobs, change cities, and change relationships with dizzying frequency. But that’s our culture, not our spiritual DNA. We’re designed for lasting relationships—lifelong marriages and, yes, even lifelong friendships.

I’m convinced that community ripens over time and only grows sweet and nourishing in the context of commitment and longevity. We mustn’t be such willing slaves to the dictates of this world’s system! The practice of replacing our friendships as regularly as we replace our wardrobes or automobiles assures us of an untested crew when the inevitable storms arise.

And these are just the personal deficits; what about the larger losses? The world is supposed to recognize us as Jesus’ disciples because of our committed love for one another; this uncommon selflessness will demonstrate the lordship of Christ in a way no preaching can. However, if we bail on one another as soon as we encounter difficulty, then we merely reinforce our superficiality. The Kingdom of God requires more of us.

Adapted from When God Waits (WaterBrook, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, I invite you to work in my life through a real friend. And please use me in his life as well.