Soul Friends

Laurie Buffo, Volunteer Writer, South Barrington | October 6, 2023

After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.
1 Samuel 18:1

And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “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.” The two of them made a covenant before the Lord. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh.
1 Samuel 23:16-18 

We have heard of soul mates, but what about soul friends? During the conversation between King Saul and David following the battle with Goliath, Jonathan recognized a kindred spirit in David. He understood they shared a deep devotion to God. This dedication was the basis of their bond. Jonathan and David became one in spirit. Their souls knit together—they were soul friends.

From that point on, Jonathan became David’s number-one advocate. King Saul, Jonathan’s father, intended to kill David and thwart God’s plan for David to replace him as king. Saul reasoned that Jonathan should be on board because he was next in line to the throne.  Angered by Jonathan’s loyalty to David, Saul threw a spear at his son, revealing the darkness in his heart. Jonathan confirmed David’s suspicions about Saul’s murderous intent, and David escaped.

Filled with fear, envy, and rage, Saul hunted David. When David became discouraged by Saul’s relentless pursuit, Jonathan helped him find strength in God. He encouraged him not to be afraid. Looking to David’s interests instead of his own, Jonathan reassured David he would be king and promised to serve him. They made a covenant of unwavering loyalty. No doubt, this steadfast bond sustained them both.

We can learn a lot about loving our friends from Jonathan. He loved David like himself, considering David’s needs like his own. Friendship like that reflects God’s faithful love. Jonathan encouraged and reassured his friend just like God does for us. Like Jesus, Jonathan was willing to submit to God’s plan, surrendering his position of honor to help his friend. Like Jesus, he saved his friend’s life out of love.

The foundation of Jonathan’s loyalty to David was a shared devotion to God. He upheld God’s plan, proving he was a man after God’s own heart, just like David. Often, our most profound relationships are with those who share our faith. When family members cannot be who we need them to be, a soul friend can help fill the gaps. Such friendships make it easier to navigate life’s problems, including complex family dynamics. The best way to find a soul friend is to prepare our hearts to be one. Then, like Jonathan, we will recognize a kindred spirit.

Next Steps   

If you have a soul friend, express your appreciation to them today. If not, be encouraged! If you want to be a friend like Jonathan, the Holy Spirit will help you. Start by praying over the list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Ask God first to prepare your heart to be a soul friend and then to help you find one.