Today we continue our series, “Progress On Purpose.” I told you that God wants us to walk in “NEW LEVELS IN 2021!” But if we are going to do so, we must be intentional about our progress. With that in mind, as we lay the foundation for the year, I told you that I would discuss “Leveling Up” in five areas:
In the last area, I am addressing leveling up your external relationships. I will cover the following topics in this section:
1. The three people you need in your life (the roles you need filled)
2. Discerning when to let people go
3. The importance of choosing the right friends
4. Surrounding yourself with people of like-precious-faith
Setting the stage:
I pray these messages are helping you see how important your friends are. We will stay on this topic for a few days. Yesterday we looked at Paul and Barnabas. Today we will look at David and Jonathan. Before we do, I will share a few thoughts that help crystalize what we have been learning thus far.
1. Your friends matter:
— Show me your friends, and I will show you your future.
— If you get to choose the people you call “friend,” then shouldn’t you choose wisely?
— If you choose the right friends, they will help you live the right life.
2. Protect your anointing:
— If you value what God is doing in your life, then you will value it enough to protect it.
— Protect your purpose by refusing to connect with those who may contaminate your anointing.
3. Select Godly mentors:
— Mentoring relationships are powerful. Mentors enable us to do much more than we can alone.
— Select your mentors wisely and grant them the right to speak into your life. Everyone’s words don’t carry the same weight. Give the words of your mentors the weight (value) they deserve.
Now let’s get into today’s message.
David and Jonathan:
We pick up the story of David in 1 Samuel 18. After David killed the giant and the Israelite army finished off the Philistines, David met with King Saul. During the meeting, David met the King’s son, Prince Jonathan. When the two met, they immediately connected. This was a supernatural connection. The Bible says, “there was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David.” The Bible goes on to say that Jonathan “loved him as he loved himself.” To seal the relationship, Jonathan entered into a covenant with David. He swore a solemn pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, along with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt. Symbolically, this meant that Jonathan was giving David everything he had. Spiritually, it meant the two men were in a covenant.
Jonathan’s father, King Saul, sanctioned the relationship and welcomed David into the palace. David would never again live in Bethlehem. David had no way of knowing what Jonathan was going to mean to him. Jonathan, the son of Saul, would eventually help David escape his father’s attacks at the risk of his own life. On more than one occasion, Jonathan saved David’s life. Jonathan was being groomed to be King, and in a strange twist of fate, he wound up befriending the man who would take his place.
Jonathan also had no way of knowing what David would mean to him. In addition to providing a unique friendship while they were alive, David’s love and commitment to Jonathan would survive his death. Jonathan had no way of knowing that both he and his father would die on the same day and that his son, Mephibosheth, an heir to the throne, would wind up crippled living in a barren place (LoDebar). It was David who, because of his love for Jonathan, would later redeem Mephibosheth from LoDebar and restore him to the King’s palace.
David could not have planned a better relationship if he tried. I believe the Lord was behind the special relationship. I believe the Lord planned this relationship before the foundations of the world because David needed Jonathan and Jonathan needed David.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. God never called you to do it alone!
— You will never maximize your purpose and potential without the assistance of others. Greatness is too great of a task for one person.
— I run into people all the time who say things like, “I don’t need anyone,” or “I am fine all by myself.” But if the truth is told, these statements are birthed out of pain. People say things like this because they have been hurt. That’s understandable. People can be messy. Dealing with people can be painful. But no matter how bad you have been hurt by people, you need others and others need you.
— If you have been hurt by others in the past (I believe we all have), God can help you forgive, and the Holy Spirit can also help wash the pain away. This is important because to have thriving relationships with others, you must be healthy yourself.
— If you listen to the Holy Spirit, He will lead you to open your heart to the relationships He has ordained for you to have. These are important because when you are around the right people, you will hear the right things, you will get the right encouragement, and your faith will be reinforced.
— When people of like-precious-faith surround you, they will help you keep going when you feel like quitting!
2. Covenant Relationships are special.
— The word “friend” is used very loosely today, especially when people have thousands of “friends” on Facebook. But God-given friends should be cherished.
— The Lord helped set up the relationship between Jonathan and David. If you take the time to acknowledge it, you will find that He has done the same for you.
— The Father sends people our way, so we can be a blessing to them and so they can be a blessing to us. Life is much better when enjoyed with the company of great friends.
— David would have never become the David we know if it were not for Jonathan. I can say the same about Ruth and Naomi, Elijah and Elisha, and Paul and Barnabas.
— Appreciate the special people in your life. There are people who are ordained by God to be there!
3. Divine friends help you remain on the path to your purpose.
— If it were not for Jonathan, we may not be reading about David. Jonathan helped protect David from the attacks of his father, King Saul.
— Jonathan may not have known it, but he was helping to shield David for his divine assignment. Part of Jonathan’s destiny was to shield David for his own.
— Jonathan was so committed to David that he helped his friend, even if it meant that David would eventually take his place as King and successor to his own father. True friends will sacrifice for you, even when it costs them dearly.
— We all need people like Jonathan in our lives. If we open our hearts to God and His grace, the Holy Spirit will lead us into the key and critical relationships we need to become the men/women we were born to be.
— I will circle back to the relationship between Paul and Barnabas here. Without Barnabas, there would be no Apostle Paul. Barnabas stood up for Paul when he was first Born-Again, and no one wanted to believe he was a Christian. Barnabas personally took Paul to Jerusalem and introduced him to the Apostles. Later, when Paul was isolated in Tarsus, trying to figure his life out, Barnabas traveled from Antioch (in Syria) all the way to Tarsus (in Turkey) to invite him into ministry. Barnabas got Paul started, and he mentored him along the way.
— Jonathan saw something in David, even when David did not see it in himself. Jonathan knew there was something special about David, and Jonathan was used by God to invest in that calling, even though it cost him personally to do so. That’s what you call a God-given friend!
— Barnabas saw something in Paul when no one else did. Barnabas knew there was something special about Paul, so he invested in that calling. The result, as they say, is history. Paul wound up becoming the most influential person of the first-century church (outside of Jesus).
— When you have a God-given friend, God will grace them to see things in you, even when you don’t see them in yourself. God-given friends will speak life into you when you are down. They will encourage you to keep going when you want to give up. They will correct you when you get off the path to your purpose. They will even sacrifice for you, at great personal expense, because they believe in what God is doing in your life. We all need friends like this!
— I can think of a few key people God used to open doors for me, to encourage me when I needed it, and build me up when I was down. Without those people, I would not be who I am today. David would not have made it without Jonathan. Paul could not even get started without Barnabas. If you are called to do something big, you won’t be able to do it on your own. Embrace and appreciate the people God has ordained to be a blessing to you.
That’s enough for today.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I acknowledge the fact that I will not be able to maximize my purpose or potential without others. I can do all things through Christ, but You have not called me to do it alone. I need You and I need others. I need the special people You have ordained to be a part of my life. I also know they need me. So I release any pain from my past, and I open my heart to receive the covenant relationships You desire for me to have. I also commit to being a blessing to my friends, because I love them, without any expectation of anything in return. My friends will be part of my life’s story, and I shall be part of theirs. When we get to heaven, we will all laugh and celebrate what we did together. I LEVEL UP my relationships in 2021! GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!