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Four Attributes of God-Honoring Friendships



Gregg Matte breaks down four simple attributes of Godly friendship with gentle clarity. We all want good friends, and we all need to be good friends. With a closer look at David and Jonathan, we can see how God uses friendship to draw us closer to Him.

Key Takeaway

David and Jonathan's friendship exemplified the closeness that God desires for us to not only have with earthly friends, but with Him. Focusing on four attributes, we have the ability to experience intimate friendship and cultivate a God honoring community.

1) Sacrifice

"Dialogue of the deaf" is when you are thinking about you are going to say next while someone else is talking. This is incredibly self serving and we have been called to sacrifice. We can simply sacrifice our need to have to say something by asking questions and becoming a good listener.

David and Jonathan made a covenant with each other, placing each other's needs and interests above their own. This is more than a contract or flippant bargain. A covenant is a deep agreement. Jonathan sacrifices his robe, tunic, sword, bow, and belt and gives it to David, recognizing that he is handing over the kingship to David because David has been chosen to rule. Sacrifice comes naturally when motivated by love.

2) Loyalty

You find out how important loyalty is when you have been betrayed. In terms of friendship, it is better to have 4 quarters than 100 pennies. The Bible speaks of deep loyalty within the Body of Christ.

Romans 12: 4-5- "One Body"

Matthew 12: 46-50- "Brothers and Sisters"

Colossians 2:2- "Knitted together in love"

Philippians 2- "Comrades in arms"

Philemon 1:12- "My very heart"

1 Thessalonians 2:7- "Nursing mother"

When it comes to loyalty, the order is always Jesus, others, us.


Jonathan encouraged David in his faith, not in his career, his skills, or his relationships. This is interior encouragement versus exterior encouragement. It goes past the superficial, straight to the doorway that leads to a depth so deep that his soul finds a friend.

It is possible that Jonathan was 25-28 years older than David. This is a beautiful picture of the old encouraging the young and the young being humble enough to listen. When encouraging be sincere and be specific.

4) Kindness

After Saul and Jonathan had died, David looked for ways to show kindness to their remaining family. It would have been completely logical and expected for David to look for ways to kill the rest of their families so that there would be no threat to the Kingdom. But David, trusting that God had given him the kingdom, sought to continue to be kind towards Jonathan's family.

We are just like Mephibosheth. We are wounded, barely walking. We are hobbling in our sin and we need the kindness of a Savior to pull us in and make us part of His family and bring us to His table.

The friendship of Jesus is everything that we need. Through His sacrifice on the Cross, he died to save us from our sin and rose to life, conquering death to bring us new life. He will never leave us or forsake us, remaining loyal even when have not been. Though His Spirit, He is a constant source of encouragement in our faith in Him. His kindness leads us to repentance so that we can grow closer in friendship and intimacy with Him.


"I went out to find a friend, but could not find one there. I went out to be a friend, and found friends everywhere."

Author Unknown

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Scripture References

  • 1 Samuel 18:1–4
  • 2 Samuel 9
  • 1 Samuel 23:14-18
  • John 15:13
  • 1 Samuel 20:42
  • Romans 2:4