Column: Friendships guided by a few key principles


The story of David and Jonathan provides a powerful example of what a strong friendship can look like.

Through its ups and downs, this friendship reveals some principles that we can all apply as we fight for our friends.

Jonathan was the first son of King Saul. David was the eighth son of a shepherd. Jonathan grew up with all kinds of privileges. David came from a humble home. David was a country boy. Jonathan was from the city.

David was comfortable in the pasture. Jonathan grew up in the palace. You wouldn’t think David and Jonathan would have much in common. They probably met in the palace when David came to play music for the king.

“After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond of love between them, and they became the best of friends. From that day on, Saul kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return home. And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David because he loved him as he loved himself. Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow and belt.” — 1 Samuel 18:1-4 (NLT2)

From the story of David and Jonathan, we can find a few key principles we can all apply to this important matter of friendship.

First, true friends push us to grow. We’ve all heard sayings like, “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” In all likelihood, you will become like the people you choose to be friends with. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” — Proverbs 27:17 (NLT2)

True friends push each other to grow rather than settle for mutual mediocrity. Pick your friends wisely and carefully. Look for people who will stretch you. Find friends who will challenge you. Look for friends who will help you grow to the next level.

Make sure that you pick real friends, not just virtual friends on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Most of us don’t need any more virtual friends. We need some actual, real-life, face-to-face friends.

A recent study compiled data on 3.4 million people across 70 studies. They found the absence of social connections carries the same health risk as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Loneliness is increasingly contending with obesity as a health risk. One of Satan’s favorite strategies is isolation. He will do whatever he can do to keep you disconnected and out of community. More next time…

You may read Steve Greene’s blog at or you can email him at [email protected].

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