Surround Yourself with Godly People

Jonathan is a powerful example of faith and friendship. Although his father was wicked king, he chose a different path. In 1 Samuel 14, he adamantly proclaims his faith in the Lord by breaking ranks from a cowardice Israelite army and attacking an entire regiment of Philistines. Although Jonathan’s personal courage and dedication were remarkable, he did not challenge the enemy alone. He took his armor-bearer with him.

His armor-bearer is one of the many unnamed heroes in the Bible. He may have been a servant to the king’s son but his relationship with Jonathan was certainly not due to obligation. They had a special bond that included a common mission (vs 1), common heart (vs 7), and a common action (vs 13). They were unified in their service to the Lord and together they attacked the enemy and lead the Israelites to resounding victory.

Later, Jonathan would befriend another warrior by the name of David. Scripture tells us the men were “knit to the soul” (1 Sam 18:1). No doubt this friendship was fueled by the courage David showed when he killed a giant named Goliath all by himself.

Jonathan obviously understood the principle of a wise proverb, “A righteous man is cautious in friendship” (Pro 12:26). He knew his closest friends would influence his behavior and his life. Therefore, it was imperative for him to surround himself with like-minded people.

The same is true for spiritual warriors today. If you are going to fight in the Lord’s army, you must surround yourself with godly men and women.

The following “test of companionship” will help you choose your friends wisely.

1) Can you speak to them about their faults? If fear keeps you from sharing criticism with a friend, then he is not your friend. He is your master! He controls you and more than likely this friend will influence you for evil. "An honest answer is the sign of true friendship" (Pro 24:26).

2) Do they share your faults with you? An enemy will shower you with flattery but a friend will always tell you the truth. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Pro 27:6).

3) Do they persuade you to do evil or violate your conscience? We should flee “the presence of fools” because fools will “mock sin” (Pro 14:7, 9). The apostle Paul warns men to avoid other “Christians” if they are entangled in immoral behavior (1 Cor 5:9-13).

4) Do they encourage you to “run with the crowd?” Moses warned the children of Israel about the dangers of “following the crowd” (Ex 23:2). Those who are constantly trying to hang with the “in crowd” are headed for much trouble. “For the way of the transgressor is hard” and “a man of many companions may come to ruin” (Pro 13:15; 18:24). A friend who entices you to seek the world’s fancies and ambitions is not spiritually minded (Matt 6:24). “Friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4).

5) Do they motivate you to serve the Lord with vigor? In Romans 16 we can read about the apostle Paul’s closest companions. They were his “fellow workers” in the Lord. They were also called “laborers, prisoners, servants and helpers of many.” No doubt they motivated Paul as much as he motivated them in the work of the kingdom.

6) Do they stir you to uncommon faith and devotion? Jonathan’s armor-bearer climbed up a dangerous ravine and fought the enemy because his friend encouraged him to do so. However, he also inspired Jonathan with his own faith because that is what godly friends do. Faith must exceed words. It demands action! “Bear with one another and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2).

If your friends do not fit this test, you should choose new companions. Jonathan understood this and that is why he sought for men who would make him stronger not weaker. "Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens his friend's countenance" (Pro 27:17).

Ultimately, there is no greater test of friendship than what we see in the example of our Lord Jesus. He is a true friend. “Greater love has no one than this, than someone lays down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). May He always be your closest friend and may you always be a friend to Him. As Jesus said, “You are My friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:14).