Loving others is one of the most important and difficult commands Jesus gave us. We are a messy, broken, needy, and sinful people. We constantly deal with our own wounds and those of others. Because there is no perfect person, the foundation for loving others must be based outside of the merit or worth of others. The foundation for love must come from the God who is love. As believers we must be constantly tapped into the love and grace of our heavenly Father so that we can love others selflessly and powerfully. May you receive the love of your Father and be empowered to love others this week as we look to grow in our obedience of Jesus’ command to love people.
Good friends are one of God’s greatest gifts. Not one of us is meant to go through life alone and without help. God longs to use you as his hands and feet to those he has placed in your midst. He longs to make you a friend as he is a friend to us, in order to bless others and extend the reach of his kingdom.
1 Samuel 18:1-3 tells of the powerful friendship of David and Jonathan. Scripture says, “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.”
Jonathan was an incredible example of God’s heart for friendship. Jonathan was the rightful heir to the throne of Israel. Behind Saul’s pursuit of killing David was his desire to make Jonathan king. But instead of seeking earthly success, Jonathan humbled himself before David and served him, thereby serving his heavenly Father as well. Jonathan chose friendship over worldly power. As a result, David became Israel’s greatest king and ushered in the lineage of Christ.
Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” God longs to transform you into a friend who loves others unconditionally. It’s in the hard times that we most need our friends. Yet in the hard times, many friends abandon us for relationships that require less of them. The heart of God is to stick with us through trials, sin, and bad decisions. He never leaves us or forsakes us, and he longs to make us like him. He longs to make us friends that will love through every season of life. He longs to empower us to love, serve, honor, and bless those he has intentionally given us.
God is calling you to love your friends “at all times.” He is calling you to a lifestyle of service and grace. What friend of yours needs your help right now? Who can you choose to serve over yourself? What friend is God calling you to love with the love he has shown you today?
1 Corinthians 13:7 says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” May you exhibit the heart of your heavenly Father to your friends by loving them as he has loved you.
1. Meditate on God’s desire for you to pursue godly friendship. Allow Scripture to stir up your desire to love friends well today.
“As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.” 1 Samuel 18:1-3
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
2. How can you be a better friend today? In what ways can you love those God has given you as friends? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you ways you can better love those around you today.
3. Ask God to empower you to be a friend who loves unconditionally. Ask him to make you like himself. Spend time resting in his presence and allowing his love to fill you and empower you.
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16
Extended Reading: 1 Samuel 20