"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother"     - Proverbs 18:24

Other than our family, the people that know the most about us are our friends.  For better or for worse, they know our strengths, our weaknesses, and all of the things that either drive us nuts or get us excited.  In college, I always had roommates and these friends knew all of my habits...once again, good or bad.  My friend Laura was always so good at doing her laundry and I sent mine home to my mom so she could wash and iron my clothes for me.  How pitiful is that!  The sad thing is she still helps me with this when I need her to - I just can't stand to iron!!!!!  I will admit that I have gotten better at it these past couple of weeks.  The key is not letting it pile up and doing a little bit at a time.  Forgive me for my childish behavior, I'm still learning :)

Another friend of mine, Ashley, knows exactly what will cheer me up.  Every time we get together we have to share oreos and milk.  It is a necessity in our friendship.  As we are dunking our oreos in our glasses of cold milk to the perfect soft yet still crunchy consistency, we pour out our troubles to one another.  I remember one time in high school we were doing this at my parent's lake trailer (yep, we live in Alabama and people go to the lake to stay in trailers...no shame!) and all of a sudden a HUGE cockroach comes climbing up the wall by our bed.  We both scream like girls, our oreos and milk go flying, and we jump on the bed pointing at the darn thing.  Finally, I get brave and take off my flip-flop and declare, "Die bug DIE!!!" while Ashley is squirming saying, "Get it, Christen, get it!!!!"  Sadly for the roach he met his destiny that night but in spite of his tragedy, Ashley and I have a funny memory that we both will never forget.

I will be the first to admit that friendships are not always easy.  We all have experiences where we have been betrayed by friends and have lost friends along the way but I do think we can all agree that we all desire to have fellowship with others.  We were designed to be with one another and it is our choice to choose friends who will stick to us closer than brothers rather than betray us like enemies.  In 1 Samuel, a wonderful story of friendship is shared through the relationship of Jonathan and David.  Their story picks up right after David shot Goliath with his sling and David is brought into King Saul's inner courts to stay with him and his family.  Jonathan was Saul's son and soon became David's BFF.

"After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.  And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.  Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt." (1 Samuel 18:1,3)

As mentioned in the verse above, Jonathan "became one in spirit with David and he loved him as himself."  Before David killed Goliath, the prophet Samuel picked out little shepherd boy David to be the anointed king of Israel.  Since Jonathan's dad was currently serving as king, he was supposed to be next in line to receive the throne but now this dirty, new kid shows up and is declared to be king.  Honestly, if I was Jonathan, I would be pretty ticked off, wouldn't you?  I would think to myself, "Well, who does this kid think he is that he can just take my throne?  I have royal blood and he smells like dirty sheep!"  Jonathan had every right to hate David but instead he loved him. 

He loved him so much that he signed a covenant with David to show the depth of their friendship.  The Hebrew word for "covenant" is "berith" meaning a contract, accompanied by signs, sacrifices, and a solemn oath.  Jonathan and David were both soldiers and his sword, tunic, robe, bow, and belt were his battle gear.  No soldier would go into battle not dressed and prepared so the fact that he gave these items to David showed that he viewed him as his equal.  Jonathan chose not to become jealous of
David but rather to "have in mind the things of God."  He sacrificed himself for the glory of God's kingdom.

How many of our friends would we sacrifice ourselves for?  Who would you sign a covenant with?  Do you have a friend that would stick closer to you than a brother?  I have learned over time that it is okay to just be able to count the number of my tight friends on one hand.  I don't just want my relationships to be Facebook-type friends, I want real, true, honest friendships.  I think following Jonathan's example of sacrifice instead of jealousy can take our friendships to a much deeper level.  We should "love our friends as ourselves" instead of looking at them through slanted, jealous eyes.

The awesome thing about having a relationship with Jesus Christ is experiencing his amazing love.  Jesus always loved others as he loved himself.  When we give every worry and jealous thought to our God he will in return give us peace and love so we can use that in our friendships.  And, just like a marriage, if a friendship is Christ-centered instead of people-centered it will grow into a deep-rooted relationship that will continue to stand strong and upright  through our windy days of life.

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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