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Later Jonathan sacrificed more than just his robe and armor, he put his own life in danger to defend David before King Saul, when King Saul wanted to kill David. On one occasion Jonathan had to dodge a spear thrown by his father Saul because Jonathan defended David. Which brings us to our first characteristic of a true friend, a true friend is willing to sacrifice for the friendship.
Sometimes being a true Christian friend means we need to make sacrifices for our friends. Are we willing to share things which are very important to us? Are we willing to go a second mile with a friend when they are going through difficult times? A true Christian friend is unselfish and willing to share of themselves with others.
One of my truest friends is my wife. She has made numerous sacrifices for me. The greatest sacrifice was to head off with me to seminary without any housing, without any job, without our house being sold. She stepped out in faith. Then when God supplied every one of those things, she was willing to work full time for four years to put me through school. To me that was a sacrifice.
Would you be willing to help a friend get a promotion even if you are trying for that same promotion? Christian friendships are not just about what you can do for me, but what I can do to help you in any way I can. How many people have friendships just to make themselves look good, or to get something from someone. That is not the kind of friend God has called us to be as Christians.
We know this because Jesus demonstrated the ultimate form of sacrifice for the sake of friendship. Listen to what Jesus said to his disciples:
NRS John 15:13 No one has greater love than this, than to lay down oneís life for oneís friends.
The true sign of friendship is sacrificing, self-giving. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down his life for his friends. Who are Jesusí friends? Those who love Jesus, follow him, and obey his commands. Jesus wants everyone to be his friend.
Even if you have no other friend in the world, the most important friend you can have is Jesus. Think about it, he loves us unconditionally, he already demonstrated his willingness to sacrifice to give of himself for our benefit by dying on a cross, and heís available 24/7, who better to have as a best friend?
NIV James 2:23 "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called Godís friend.
Would you call yourself a friend of Godís, or a friend of Jesusí?
2. A True Friend is loyal defense before others
Sacrificing for a friend also means we are willing to go to bat for them when they arenít there. We are a loyal defense before others who might try to ridicule them. What do you say about when someone talks about your friend behind their back, do you say nothing or even join in the gossip to save yourself from ridicule, or do you stand up and defend them?
In our second passage from
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