Monday Message: Friends in Jesus

17 Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him; for he loved him as he loved his own life.

1 Samuel 20:17

We talk often about relationship in the Christian Church.  Rightfully, most of our focus is upon relationship with the living God that is available to us in Christ Jesus.  More neglected is conversation about the relationships that take place between fellow Christians.

But God has not called us solely into relationship with Christ.  God calls us together in the church.  We are supposed to be together.  Solo Christianity does not work.

I know that this is not a popular sentiment these days.  It is argued that solo Christianity actually works better.  Other Christians are messy.  They aren’t as graceful as they are supposed to be toward us.  They aren’t as righteous as they are supposed to be when we look at them.  But it is precisely within this mess that God gifts us with one another.

Early on, Jonathan and David bonded together.  In 1 Samuel 18, we are told that “the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David” and that “Jonathan made a covenant with David.”  They were connected and recognized their connection before God.

Now this was easy to do early on when they had a lot in common.  They went to war together fighting the enemies of Israel.  They were in the royal court together being part of the reign of Jonathan’s father, King Saul.  But soon, the circumstances would not support their friendship.  At the time of our passage above, the political, social, and economic expediency of their friendship was gone.  The only thing that remained was their bond in God.

But it was this bond in God that kept them honest in their relationship with God in difficult times.  It was Jonathan’s love for David that allowed him to see the flaws in his father Saul.  It was David’s love for Jonathan that kept David faithful to moving in integrity toward the house of Saul when it would have been easier to manipulate and control.

We need each other for the same reasons.  We need to be bound to one another in our common love and faith in Jesus Christ.  And when that gets messy, those are the times when those relationships become that much more valuable.

Jesus, we confess that we often don’t like each other.  We confess that we often feel threatened by each other.  But we ask You to show us Your great love for each other.  Then bind us together in that love.  We invite You to use us to bless one another… even in the mess of human life.  We trust You, even when it is You in and through the mess of other people.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.