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Coming alongside another person for mutual support and encouragement.

Devotional Thought

Read 1 Samuel 18:1-4; 19:1-6; 23:16-17.

David and Jonathan had one of the most remarkable friendships of all time. They met shortly after David killed the great giant Goliath. As the first born son of King Saul, Jonathan could've been easily threatened and jealous of David's popularity. Furthermore, David was destined to be the next king of Israel, not Jonathan. Yet Jonathan and David became tremendous friends, and the Bible describes the genuineness of their relationship as being "knit" together. Their commitment to one another was based upon mutual respect, compatibility and shared ideals. They wept together, accepted each other, encouraged and strengthened one another. An interesting sidelight to David's life is that the Bible doesn't have any record of David's sins until after Jonathan is killed on the battlefield. Subsequent to Jonathan's death is when David begins to get himself in trouble. Perhaps David could've spared himself much grief if he had found another friend to replace Jonathan.

Chuck Swindoll reminds us of four crucial truths pertaining to friendships:

Friends are essential, not optional. There is no substitute for a friend-someone to care, to listen, to comfort, even to reprove.

Friends must be cultivated; they're not automatic.

Friends impact our lives; they're not neutral. Those we are close to rub off on us, change us. Their morals and philosophies, convictions and character eventually become our own.

Friends come in four classifications, not one. They are: acquaintances, casual friends, close friends and intimate friends. Only with intimate friends do you have a deep commitment to mutual character development. You share the freedom to criticize and correct, encourage and embrace. They are your sheltering trees.

David and Jonathan were intimate friends who learned the power of a genuine friendship. Know a person's character before you make him a close friend. Your life is the stage on which his character-good or bad-will be played out.