Bible,  Life

Getting the Most out of our Friendships and Relationships

1 Samuel 18, 20; 2 Samuel 9

Let’s look at the relationship between David and Jonathan. Saul was the king of Israel at the time. He was the very first King. Jonathan was his son. King Saul disobeyed God and God selected David to be the next king. Saul found out about that and wanted to kill David… So you can imagine quandary it put Jonathan in. Despite being King Saul’s son and the one people thought perhaps would be the next king after Saul, Jonathan befriended David and they became the very best of friends.

From your experience, how do you improve upon your relationships? As you think about people in your fringes, you hope God can use you to touch those lives? How about your friends? What kind of friend are you? What about family? People in your family feel better about themselves because of how you treat them? How does God work through you to impact them?

  1.  The first thing that I see on how to improve our relationships and to let God work through us to impact others is for us to lose self.

Let’s begin by looking at what Jonathan did for David.

Notice how Jonathan gave David the things that were important to him. These were things that were used to protect himself. And he gave them to David.

It is our human nature to protect ourselves. Human preservation goes without saying. If you were to take a swing at me I would flinch to protect myself. If you try to take something from me, it is my nature protect what I have. Self-preservation is natural.

God’s word challenges us to let go, to lose ourselves, and to for look ways to help others.

Selfishness keeps me from helping others. If you want to destroy a relationship for an impact then be selfish. You cannot consistently find ways to help others out you are selfish. Notice again that Jonathan gave up the things that were important to and that would protect him and gave them to David to help them out.

Think about people in your fringes.  Does somebody come to mind? Is there something you can do to help out a person in this category?  Do you want to have a positive impact on people that are in the fringes of your life? If so, lose the self and look for ways to help them out.

Think about friends in your life.  Does somebody come to mind? Is there something you can do to help out a person in this category?  Do you want to have a positive impact on your friends? If so, lose the self and look for ways to help them out.

Think about family, including your spouse, children, parents.  Does somebody come to mind? Is there something you can do to help out someone in the family?  Do you want to have a positive impact on your family? If so, lose the self and look for ways to help them out.

2.  The second point that I see on how to improve our relationships and to let God work through us to impact others is for us to look out for others.

Let’s look at another scene between Jonathan and David.  David is telling Jonathan that Jonathan’s father, King Saul, is wanting to kill David. Jonathan does not leave what David is saying.

In this chapter we see that Jonathan devises a plan to find out the truth. Through a series of events, Jonathan finds out that his father does want to kill David. Jonathan therefore does what’s necessary to protect friend, David. Jonathan stands in the gap between his father and David.

If we want God to use us to impact others, we need to be willing to stand in the gap and to look out for others.

In Genesis 18, Abraham intervenes to God on behalf of Lot.

Most of us are familiar with the Easter story and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In the days preceding the crucifixion of Jesus, he went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray he took with him three disciples.  These disciples fell asleep as Jesus was he was praying. Jesus was facing crucifixion and death and his three closest disciples did not stay awake and they fell asleep. He even asked them if they could not even stay awake on our to pray with him. He needed them in this time of crisis.

I have faced crisis in my life. 

In college, I found myself sitting in the county jail. My brother and his roommate aim to bail me out. He talked to me about my spiritual life and my need for God. It is then that I surrendered my life to Christ. He had been standing in the gap praying for me and came to help during a crisis in my life.  I want to be more like my brother to stand in the gap for others.

On another occasion, there was a time in my life that I was facing some very dark days. A friend of mine, Milton Bost, would call me every day. On several occasions he would even come by and say, let’s go for a ride.  He stood in the gap and was looking out for me. I want to be more like Milton to stand in the gap for others. Milton and I continue to have breakfast at Bob Evans on Wednesday mornings. We’ve been doing this for over 15 years now. 

Who do you need to stand in the gap for?  Who do you need to look out for?

Think about people in your fringes.  Does somebody come to mind? Is there someone you need to stand in the gap for in this category?  Do you want to have a positive impact on people that are in the fringes of your life? If so, look out for them.

Think about friends in your life.  Does somebody come to mind? Is there someone you need to stand in the gap for in this category?  Do you want to have a positive impact on people that are in the fringes of your life? If so, look out for them.

Think about family, including your spouse, children, parents.  Does somebody come to mind? Is there someone you need to stand in the gap for in this category?  Do you want to have a positive impact on people that are in the fringes of your life? If so, look out for them.

3.  The third point that I see on how to improve our relationships and to let God work through us to impact others is loyality.

Let’s look at another scene between Jonathan and David but at this point in 2 Samuel, Jonathan and King Saul have been killed. It was not by David’s doing but now David is king. David had made a promise to Jonathan that you would always take care of his family.

If we want God to use us to impact others, we need to be loyal and keep our promises.

Sometimes it is a challenge to be loyal faithful to others especially if we feel as though it’s only going one way — us to them. If the basis for my friendships is “What’s in it for me?”,  then my friendships will not last very long.

If we feel like we are getting nothing in return, it can be difficult to remain faithful to our friends. We’d like to see things reciprocate in our relationships.

this is a challenge because one half of our brain is reading the word and the other half is seeing the colors.  My sociology and psychology background refers to this as cognitive dissonance. We have trouble reconciling the word were reading the color we see.

Sometimes in our relationships, we have cognitive dissonance. It’s hard to be a friend if we don’t feel like we’re getting anything in return for our friendship. We often evaluate things including our relationships based on answering the question “What’s in it for me?”.

David remained loyal to Jonathan even after Johnson’s death. There was no personal benefit of keeping his word that he would take care of Jonathan’s family the generations to come. 

Who do you need to be loyal to?

Think about people in your fringes.  Does somebody come to mind? Is there someone you need show loyalty to in this category? Do you want to have a positive impact on people that are in the fringes of your life? If so, keep your promises.

Think about friends in your life.  Does somebody come to mind? Is there someone you need to show loyalty to in this category? Do you want to have a positive impact on people that are in the fringes of your life? If so, be loyal.

Think about family, including your spouse, children, parents.  Does somebody come to mind? Is there someone you need to show loyalty to in this category?  Do you want to have a positive impact on people that are in the fringes of your life? If so, be loyal.

I am so grateful that God keeps his promises and that what Christ has done for me is not dependent upon me.

I want to be more like Christ that love people unconditionally in the grace and kindness that I extend to others is not dependent upon answering the question “What’s in it for me?”

Have you surrendered your life to Christ?  You will truly understand what it means for someone to keep their promises you will discover what God says in his word has a huge impact on your life. You will see clearly how God extends his grace its fight of your shortcoming.

God wants to not only make a big impact in your life he wants to work through you to impact others. He wants to do that to those in your fringes, to your friends, and to your family. What will he have you to do in response to the message today?

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