4 Characteristics Worthy of Modeling

He was never king, yet he left a mark in history.

Jonathan was King Saul’s oldest son, yet he was never king. He does not make it into a hall of fame, yet he was a good friend. He was not a star, yet he was respected. In many ways, Jonathan was just an ordinary person.

Jonathan’s life models 4 characteristics everyone should strive to possess.

1. Jonathan was humble.

Jonathan understood David would be a better king. He was willing to look past himself to the big picture. In humility, Jonathan was willing to place himself in second place. It has been said, “There are kings and kingmakers.” Jonathan was a kingmaker.

The kingmakers of the world understand they may not be the best fit for a position. They spend their time looking past themselves to the big picture rather than fussing and feuding trying to promote their own agenda. In humility, they realize their purpose is to make a king, not be a king.

2. Jonathan was a great friend.

Jonathan was a true friend to David.

  • He was loyal to David. When everyone else left David, Jonathan stuck by his side. Job 6:14 says friends should stay loyal even if a person forsakes the Lord.
  • He was willing to share in David’s burdens. Jonathan helped carry the weight of David’s circumstances. A good friend is willing to help carry another’s burden.
  • He encouraged David. Jonathan was willing to go to David and offer encouragement. Jonathan recognized a rough season in David’s life and encouraged him in that time.
  • Jonathan invested in David’s life. Jonathan stepped aside so David could be king. He gave something of his own to David.

3. Jonathan had faith which pushed him to action.

1 Samuel 14 records Jonathan’s daring plan to win a battle with the Philistines. Though outnumbered and overpowered, Jonathan’s faith pushed him to go forward.

Jonathan says in verse 6, “Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans…. Perhaps the Lord will help us for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he was many warriors or only a few.” Jonathan was not afraid to step out in faith because he believed nothing was impossible for the Lord.

How would our goals and dreams change if we followed this example?

4. Jonathan showed undaunted courage.

The plan Jonathan devised took much courage to execute. He was outnumbered, and the Philistines had to see him. Climbing to the Philistines position required both hands and feet, so for a short period, Jonathan and his armor-bearer were not able to defend themselves. To spite these dangers, Jonathan had the courage to move forward.

Jonathan’s courage came as a result of his faith. He knew nothing was impossible for the Lord.

Taking steps to fulfill dreams and achieve goals can be scary. Much courage may be required. We can find this courage in the Lord. If he is with us, there is no need to fear.

Jonathan certainly left his mark in history. His courage, faith, friendship, and humility are worthy of modeling.

 

The Power of Encouragement

“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you,” said William Arthur Ward.

Offering encouragement is one of the most powerful ways we can help our friends and neighbors. Everyone needs to be encouraged from time to time, and good friends will encourage one another.

David needed encouragement, and Jonathan encouraged him. Saul was jealous of David and wanted to kill him. Saul would learn of David’s location and chase him, so David was forced to run from one stronghold to the next. Day after day he had to hide in the wilderness. This would have been a discouraging season in David’s life.

1 Samuel 23:16 says, “Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God.” Jonathan recognized a difficult season in David’s life and went to encourage him.

Our friends and neighbors may be going through a difficult season, so they need encouragement. We do not know how heavy of a load our neighbor may be carrying. Encouraging him or her may be one of the most powerful ways we can help.

The Bible suggests we encourage one another daily. We can encourage each other by celebrating victories, offering comfort in disappointment and heartache, and helping one another keep a strong faith.

Here are more ways to encourage one another.

Jonathan and David had a strong friendship in part because they encouraged one another.

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What is true friendship?

3 Characteristics of Genuine Friendship.

A man dialed the wrong number and heard an alarming answering machine message. “I am not available right now. After the beep, leave a message, and I will call you back. I’m making some changes in my life now, so if I don’t call you back, you are one of those changes.”

True friendship is a treasure. We associate with many people, but how many of those people are genuine friends? The Bible gives us a glimpse of real friendship in David and Jonathan’s relationship.

Jonathan was a true friend to David. He possessed the characteristics of a true friend.

1. Jonathan was devoted to David.

Some time after David battled Goliath, Jonathan and David developed an intimate friendship which lasted the test of time. The friends were devoted to one another.

Jonathan did not run away from David when Saul started chasing him. As Saul was chasing him, David’s life experienced an adverse season, and Jonathan remained his friend. Jonathan’s devotion compelled him to remain a friend to David.

Proverbs 17:17 states, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Genuine friendship is built on devotion, hanging in there during good and bad times.

2. Jonathan was willing to sacrifice to help David.

The tension between Saul and David lasted until Saul’s death. Jonathan was willing to make some sacrifices during this time. He risked creating tension between himself and his father, and he stepped aside so David could take the throne of Israel.

In 1 Samuel 23:17, Jonathan tells David, “Do not be afraid, my father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.” Jonathan willingly gave up his right to the throne for David.

Jonathan was able to see the big picture. He realized David’s potential and sacrificed to help him. True friends sacrifice for one another. This may be helping carry a burden, offering financial assistance in a rough time, or helping navigate through difficult circumstances. Sacrifice is a mark of true friendship.

3. Jonathan encouraged David.

1 Samuel 23:16 says Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in God. Friends encourage one another.

Friends encourage one another to achieve goals and fulfill dreams. Christian friends also encourage each other to stay strong in their faith. They help in times of trouble and celebrate in times of victory.

Acting

Think of your friendships. Are there areas where you could be a better friend?

 

 

woman in a praying pose

Unashamed & Persistent

The preacher thought she was drunk and scolded her for showing up at church under the influence of wine. Hannah quickly explained she wasn’t drunk. She was just that involved in her prayer. She said she was pouring her heart out to the Lord.

You and I have wants and needs. We struggle with the challenges of life. How well do we pray about those needs, wants, and challenges? Embarrassment or fear may stop us from praying, but the Bible reminds us there is no need to be embarrassed or afraid when talking with our Heavenly Father. We can be unashamed and persistent.

An Illustration

Talking about prayer, Jesus tells the story of a man who had an unexpected guest in the middle of the night. He runs to his refrigerator and its empty. He checks the pantry and only finds dust on a shelf. He has no food to offer his guest, so he runs to the neighbor’s house.

He wakes the neighbor at midnight by banging on the door. “Give me some food,” he says. “I’ve had an unexpected guest and have nothing to offer.” The man inside yells back, “Go away!”

But he keeps banging and banging until the man gets up and gives him what he needs for his guest.

Be Unashamed and Persistent

Jesus says in Luke 11:8, “But I tell you this, though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.”

You and I can be unashamed and persistent in our prayers.

Unashamed

The foodless man in Jesus’ story is unashamed to announce his problem. He has no shame in telling his neighbor what he needs. Nothing is hidden. The man lays everything before his neighbor in a shameless way.

Do you approach prayer in a shameless way? Do you lay everything before the Lord?

This can be hard at times. When we do something good, we have no problem talking with the Lord about it, but when we make mistakes, we’d rather not discuss those with our dad.

Talking about imperfections is hard. No one wants to admit he was a jerk. No one wants to admit she was cranky, but the Lord already knows. He knows you and I are not perfect, and he wants to help us grow.

“Dear friends, now we are children of God. We have not yet been shown what we will be in the future, but we know that when Christ comes again, we will be like him,” 1 John 3:2 reminds us.

Nothing is hidden from the Lord. Since he knows everything, you and I have nothing to hide. We can be unashamed in prayer. We can be honest with our feelings and ask the Lord to help us in every situation. Prayer is a safe place. Our Heavenly Dad desires to hear from us and will not be upset if we are unashamed in our conversation.

Persistent

The foodless man did not accept no as an answer. His neighbor told him to go away, but he continued to knock until the man answered his request. His persistence paid off. He received food for his guest.

“Keep praying,” Jesus encourages.

“So, I tell you continue to ask, and God will give to you. Continue to search and you will find. Continue to knock and the door will open for you. Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find, and whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them,” encourages Luke 11:9-10.

Don’t give up. Our Dad answers prayer in his timing.

Hannah was unashamed and persistent.

Hannah was so emotionally involved in her prayer she was accused of being drunk. 1 Samuel 1 records Hannah having a rough time in life. She was not afraid to talk with the Lord about her problem. She became so physically involved in her prayer it was thought she was under the influence. When questioned, Hannah explained, “I’m pouring my heart out before the Lord.”

Hannah was shameless and persistent in her prayer. How well do we pour our hearts out before the Lord? We do not have to be embarrassed or fearful before our dad in Heaven.

Our intimate conversations with him can be private. In fact, Jesus encourages us to pray in the closet. Pouring our hearts out before God can be a freeing, but vulnerable, experience, so we can do it in a private setting.

Acting

Are you angry? Tell the Lord.

Are you struggling? Tell the Lord.

Are you embarrassed by something in your life? Tell the Lord.

Anything else? Shamelessly tell the Lord. Persist in prayer.

The lyrics of an old hymn say, “What a friend we have in Jesus. What a privilege to carry everything to him in prayer.”

Want an Additional Resource?

Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer by Max Lucado is a great resource on prayer.