Does it matter to God who we choose as friends? The people that we spend the most time with are naturally going to have the greatest impact on our lives (Prov. 22:24-25). That’s why we need to choose our friends wisely.

The Bible tells us of two men who became best friends for life. One of them was a young shepherd named David. The other was Jonathan, the son of the king of Israel. It doesn’t seem as if these two would have very much in common, but they came to have a bond that even death could not break.

David was the youngest of eight boys and tended his family’s sheep. He is described as a good looking youth that became a skillful musician and a mighty, valiant man of war (1 Sam. 16:12, 18). He must have been tough and rugged because at times he had to live out in the open countryside. There was even a time when he single handedly killed a lion and a bear that were stealing his father’s sheep (1 Sam. 17:34-35).

Jonathan, on the other hand, was probably raised in a very different way. He was the son of King Saul and was raised in a royal household with many servants. He probably had the finest clothes and some of the best weapons in Israel (1 Sam. 18:4).

In spite of their differences the Bible says that the souls of Jonathan and David were knit together (1 Sam. 18:1). They even made a covenant before God concerning their friendship. They both solemnly promised to be the closest of friends for the rest of their lives. Their enduring friendship was built upon faith and trust in the Lord. Even though they came from different backgrounds and lifestyles, the main thing they had in common was their love and commitment to God.

David and Jonathan went through many tough times together. Because David was God’s choice to be the next king of Israel, Jonathan’s father, Saul, was extremely jealous. In fact, the king wanted David dead. Two different times Jonathan warned David and saved him from Saul’s plots. Jonathan even stood up to the king to convince him to let David live (1 Sam. 19:4-6; 20:32-34). However, Saul was determined, and David was forced to live as a fugitive for many years.

When David and Jonathan were older, they made another covenant with each other. They both were married and had children by that time and this covenant involved their two households. They promised before the Lord to always remain true friends and to help each other’s families throughout their future (1 Sam. 20:8-17, 23). They vowed, “… behold, the Lord be between thee and me forever.”

A few years after that, Jonathan was killed in a battle against the Philistines. David was deeply distressed at the loss of his friend, but he held up his part in the covenant he made. Eventually, David became the king of Israel and he took care of Jonathan’s crippled son, Mephibosheth. He made sure that his best friend’s son inherited all of the property he was entitled to and that he regularly ate at the royal table for the rest of his life. Even death could not break the covenant that the two friends had made before God.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” During Biblical times iron weapons were sharpened with either an iron file or a stone made from iron ore. A dull, useless sword could be made smooth, sharp, and ready for battle by using the same material: iron. That’s what David and Jonathan did for each other. Their constant encouragement kept each other sharp and ready to serve the Lord.

Do you have friends who sharpen you? If they are not the kind of friends that are encouraging you in your walk for the Lord, then they could make you dull and useless in His service. What about you? Are you the kind of friend that sharpens others? It works both ways. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us that all believers should comfort and edify (build up) one another.

John 15:13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Very few of us will ever be called upon to die for a friend, but we do have Someone who willingly laid down His life for us. The Lord Jesus Christ is our Faithful Friend. The closest and longest lasting friendships are those where each person knows and trusts this Friend. When you are choosing who to spend time with, it is always best to choose someone that loves the Lord and is committed to Him. You will find that you have a special bond that the rest of the world cannot share in or fully understand. If you both have Him in common you can have a friendship that will last for eternity.