Last week, I shared Part 1 of my “Pursuing God together” post. If you haven’t read it yet, you can view it here. As Christians, we can learn so much from David’s friendship with Jonathan. But, we can also learn about a key element of friendship from another man who David considered to be a friend.
Lack of jealousy
If I’m honest, I think Jonathan had every right to be jealous of David. Sure, Jonathan was a prince. But David was beloved by Israel, he was a fierce and successful warrior, he was a talented musician, and he was considered to be attractive.
Not only this, but God had chosen David to be the next king of Israel — skipping over Jonathan who had a claim to the throne. If I was Jonathan, I know it would be pretty easy to begin to resent David.
But how did Jonathan react to all this? “‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said. ‘My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this (1 Samuel 24:17).'”
Jonathan could have easily reacted in the same manner as his father, allowing jealousy and fear to drive his actions. Instead, Jonathan celebrated in David’s successes and helped him pursue God’s calling in his life.
Love is not bitter, proud, or jealous. Love celebrates success together, and love cries in loss together.
Godly advice and accountability
Having the right people who you seek advice from is crucial. Going back to the “evenly yoked” idea, choosing friends that offer you godly wisdom is a game-changer.
This principle is seen not in David and Jonathan’s relationship, but in David’s friendship with the prophet Nathan.
Nathan provided David with counsel during his reign as a king, ensuring that the advice he gave was God-honoring. Eventually, David had a son named Nathan, and I’m sure his friendship with the prophet had an impact on this (1 Chronicles 3:5).
But one of the most important things that Nathan provided David with was accountability. David committed adultery with Bathsheba, then attempted to cover up his sin through murdering her husband, Uriah. Uriah had been one of David’s closest and most-loyal companions in battle, yet David would rather murder than confess his sin.
That’s where Nathan comes in.
Now, there are a couple of things that go along with accountability:
First, the ability to speak truth in a loving way. If you enter the conversation with a friend in a full-blown, judgmental way, you will accomplish nothing. The only thing you will do is make your friend upset and they are not going to listen to what you have to say. Instead of speaking biblical truth into their life in love, you’ve brought the hammer of judgement upon them. And that’s enough to scare anyone away.
Nathan approached the situation through telling a story. Once David understood the story and saw how the character had acted wrongly, Nathan used that example to compare it to what David had done. Nathan was wise in the way that he approached the situation, but he also didn’t let fear change the message.
And believe me, it was a hard message for David to hear. Nathan rebuked David boldly, yet he did it out of love (2 Samuel 12). Let your love for your friend outweigh the fear of awkwardness or confrontation that you may encounter.
Second, the ability to be held accountable by a friend. I remember a few years ago when one of my friends attempted to hold me accountable in something. Instead of listening to what she had to tell me, I allowed my pride to get in the way and I ignored her godly advice. When the situation blew up in my face, I looked back at the conversation and wished I had been more receptive to what she had tried to tell me.
Unlike me, when confronted by his friend, David did not grow angry with Nathan. Instead, he was receptive to what Nathan warned him of and was grieved when he recognized the seriousness of his actions. Accountability isn’t just being able to initiate those hard conversations, it’s also being able to listen to the correction that an evenly yoked Christian in your life is giving you.
Having said all this, I have to continuously evaluate myself and my friendships to see how I am doing in all these areas.
How am I doing in being a strong Christian that my friends can depend upon when they need encouragement? How does my communication sound when I speak with my friends and when I speak about them to others? Do I feel any bitterness or jealously in my friendships, or does their success make me angry? Do we offer each other godly advice, and can we accept godly criticism?
Today, I want to encourage you to do the same. I want us to strive to become a generation of strong, Christian women that build each other up — not tear each other down. And with God’s help, I believe we can do it.