Are you Jonadab or Jonathan? Dr T.E Shobiye [PR]
Text: A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, Proverbs 18:24 (NIV).
SOVEREIGN GOD ALMIGHTY does not create us to be in isolation, but HE creates us for the purposes of friendship and companionship. Graham (2019) states that if the human soul is left to entirely to itself, it cannot enjoy anything unless it has the assurance of companionship. In this regards, no one has the gift of being alone; we are created to have mutual affection for one another to bring out friendship and companionship. Generally speaking, GOD ALMIGHTY, our creator cherishes the friendship/relationship, and for this purpose; HE created Eve since HE knew that Adam was lonely (Gen 2:18). “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help,” (Ecc 4:9-10). In addition, God Almighty inflicted Pharaoh, and his house with serious diseases because of Sarah (Gen 12: 10-20). GOD ALMIGHTY did this for Abraham as HIS friend because HE knew that if Sarah was being taken as one of the pharaoh’s wives, this would have affected Abraham’s physiological, and emotional states as well ruined the relationship between HIM and Abraham. This shows the extent how SOVEREIGN GOD loves and honours friendship/relationship. Roberts-Griffin (2011:2) indicates that human beings are encouraged to be associated with others, and have a feeling of belonging to meaningful relationships beyond family relationships, and an absence of such interpersonal relationships has an effect on psychological, emotional, and physical health. The previous study that was carried out reveals that the most important contribution to personal happiness is a close relationship with another person which is outranking money, sex and job, (Steinberg, 2007:161).
Beloved, the friendship, and relationship are very sweet if we find the right people that know GOD ALMIGHTY, and also believe in what JESUS CHRIST our FATHER says in Luke 10:17,“Love God with all your mighty, and love your neighbour as yourself.” For instance, it was godly friends that helped the paralytic man to receive healing from JESUS OUR FATHER because his friends believed that Jesus came from God Almighty, and they also believed that salvation belonged to HIM, and HE was only one that has the healing. JESUS was moved about the faith they had in HIM, and the man was healed, (Mark 2:1-12). Olukoya notes that “Relationship is about investing in others, and adding value to their lives consistently.” Unlike, ungodly friends that caused Rehoboam to lose ten tribes of Israel as a result of bad advice his friends gave to him (1 Chr 10:8). Although GOD ALMIGHTY had spoken to King Solomon that HE will divide the kingdom during his son’s regime (1 King 11:11), but had it been that Rehoboam’s friends advised him to seek God Almighty concerning the matter the elders of Israel brought to him, and if he had done so by seeking for the guidance of God Almighty on the matter, Sovereign God is a merciful God, and HE might have changed HIS mind not to divide the kingdom during Rehoboam’s regime as HE changed HIS Mind when HE smelled the sacrifice Noah offered to HIM. God Almighty says that “Never will I curse the ground because of man even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. Never again will I destroy all living creatures as I have done…” (Gen 8:20-22).
Brethren, friendship/relationship has caused some people to lose their lives, and it has sent some people to where they are not belonging to such like a graveyard or prison. Similarly, lack of true friends has destroyed many homes, and the beautiful destinies that GOD ALMIGHTY has been designed for some people. Beloved, friend can make or mar one’s life, but if the friendship is based on a godly foundation such a friendship will bring success or progress, but if it is based on deceptions or what others will gain, it will lead to road of no-return or destruction. “The company you keep has such an influence on your spiritual life. Fellowshipping with godly people will help speed you on to victory, while fellowshipping with those who are ungodly will drag you down to defeat,” (Kenneth Copeland).
Examination on Jonadab and Jonathan friendships
Jonadab: Jonadab was the son of Shimeah, King David’s brother, and he was also a cousin as well a friend of Amnon the King David first son (2 Sam 3:2). It was Jonadab that added poison into the heart of Amnon to commit an abominable act against Tamar (King David’s daughter) which was against the Laws of Moses in Israel (Levi 18: 6 & 9). Jonadab helped Amnon in accelerating evil passion he had in mind against his sister (Tamar), (2 Sam 13:3-5). There are some folks like Jonadab, who encourage/assist their friends to commit evils, and even give their friends different ways of carrying wicked acts. Brethren are you also kind of friend like Jonadab who sees nothing bad in supporting his friends in committing crimes/sins or you are a kind of friend that likes gingering your friends to do evil instead of rebuking or stopping them for thinking how to do evils. Brethren, friends like Jonadab are only good for nothing, but to give evil advice but never partake in the evil acts. It was unfortunate that King David did not know that it was Jonadab that advised his son on what to do if he really wanted to sleep with Tamar because the Bible did not mention that Jonadab was with Amnon when King David visited Amnon (2 Sam 13:7). Moreover, friends like Jonadab leave their friends to face the consequences of the crimes alone when the evils they have suggested have been executed just like the way Jonadab did to Amnon. Amnon was murdered by Absalom for defiling his sister (Tamar), but nobody knew that it was Jonadab that gave evil proposal to Amnon, and which led to Amnon’s destruction. This Jonadab was also the one who brought the news to the King David that it was only Amnon that was killed not all the princes…(2 Sam 13:32). It was a shame that Amnon came to this world empty without fulfilling God Almighty purpose for his life. Amnon accepted his friend’s advice (Jonadab) which led to his destruction as well sent him to the early grave. “If the devil wants to destroy a person with a great destiny, all he needs to do is simply connect him with the wrong people,” (Eneche, 2019).
Who was Jonathan: Jonathan was the oldest son of King Saul “Who his soul was joined to the soul of David and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Jonathan loved David as himself to the extent that he took off the robe was wearing and gave it to David… (1 Sam 18:1-4).” However, despite that Jonathan knew that GOD ALMIGHTY had taken the kingdom from his father, and given to David, (1 Sam 23:15-17) but he never envied or jealousy of David still loyal, and faithful to David. He even rebuked his father for his wrong actions towards David. He did not emulate his father character not even having the ambition of becoming king after his father. There are some people like Jonathan who show or demonstrate real love for their friends to the point that when storms come they have empathy for their friends, and stay with their friends during the troubles/hardships. Jonathan as a future heir to the throne supposed to conspire with his father in killing David, but Jonathan had the fear of GOD ALMIGHTY (1st Samuel 20:27-32), still refused to partake, and yield to his father’s evil plans against David. Jonathan showed the real love for David to the extent that David even said “The love he has for Jonathan is more wonderful than the love a woman has for a man, (2 Sam 1:26). The Bible says God Almighty is love and he that lives in love lives in God and God in him (1 John 4:16). Despite that Jonathan was scolded by his father (1 Sam 20:27-33) for not supporting him in killing David, Jonathan was still remained loyal to David even tried hard to defend David before his father. The Bible is perfect, and absolutely true by saying “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, Prov 28:24 while Eliab the eldest brother of David was not even loved David because he accused David for coming to the battle ground not because he cared but said to David, “I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is..,” (1 Sam 17:25). The reaction of Eliab towards David might due to jealousy of not being chosen, and anointed because Samuel said SOVEREIGN GOD had chosen David and he anointed him in the presence of his elder brothers (1 Samuel 16:5-13) but Jonathan was a different person, he did not envy David as the future king of Israel.
Also Read: The Motive behind going Church
Beloved, there are some friends who are destined helpers like Jonathan, and do not need others to motivate them to do the right things for their friends. Friends like Jonathan will always want progress, and try to fast-track the goals of their friends in life without getting any credit, and also make their friends become go-getters. According to Ola-Ibitoye (2019) a friend like Jonathan can be described as “A root of a tree which is very difficult and scares to find but if you find one is like an angel.” Ola Ibitoye (2019) discovers that the works of friends like the roots of a tree are to make you strong and water you, but after such friends like the roots of a tree have departed from someone’s life, they leave a mark and their departure always causes grieving, crying and sorrowing. Are you a friend like Jonathan that had an unselfish sacrificial friendship for his friend (David)? A Friend like Jonathan stays with their friends, come rain or come shine. “Jonathan had a selfless sacrificial love for David, all believers are expected to love their fellow believers sacrificially and selflessly,” (Kumuyi Williams).
People get attracted to each other in different forms which lead to friendship or relationship. Robert-Griffin (2011:4) indicates that there are three ways by which people develop the interpersonal relationships and these are:
(1) The Propinquity: One of the ways people get involved in interpersonal relationship is by physical proximity which is also called propinquity which simply means that individuals form friendship or relations with the people that they are familiar with or people that are closer/nearer to them or living in the same place/area with them. For example: it was physical proximity that led Jonadab became a friend of Amonn, according to the Bible they were both cousins, Jonadab was the son of Shimeah, king David’s brother while Amonn was King David first son (2 Sam 13:3). Also, the friends that gave Rehoboam bad advice were the youths that he grew up with in the same place (1 King 12:8-11).
(2) The attractiveness: Attractiveness: Individuals develop friendships or relationships base on physical attraction preferences. According to Roberts-Griffin (2011:6), “Physical attractive people are judged to be kinder, stronger, more outgoing, more interesting, more nurturing and better people e.g., Jonathan was attracted to David immediately GOD ALMIGHTY gave David victory over Goliath, and they became friends to the extent that Jonathan gave his royal robe he was wearing to David, (1 Sam 18:1-4). Also, this type of relationship is common to members of the opposite sex. For instance, the Bible says King Xerxes was attracted to Queen Esther (Esther 2:17), and also Boaz took notice of Ruth, (Ruth 2:5-19).
(3) The similarity: People develop friendship or relationship with people that are similar to themselves. For instance, Peter & Andrew became friends with the sons of Zebedee because of what they had in common; they were both fishers even fishing together before they became apostles of Our Lord JESUS CHRIST (Luke 5:10). Also, Jephthah first stayed, and became a friend with the group of people that were rejected, and wretched as well adventurers like him before he became king(Judges 11:1-3). Likewise, the group of people that followed David when he fled away from King Saul were those in distressed and discontented like him (1 Sam 22:2).
I-you and I-it Interpersonal relationships in the lives of Jonadab/Amnon and Jonathan
Having identified how friendship or relationship is developed into interpersonal relationship through physical, similarity and attractiveness, the next is the kind of interpersonal relationship that exists between individuals in their friendship or relationship. According to Buber Martin who was an Australian Philosopher states that interpersonal relationship between individuals can either be I-you or I-it, (Stenberg, 2007:161).
I-it interpersonal relationship
I-it interpersonal relationship: in this relationship, the opinion of I surpass the it. He or she as I put his /her point of views above without taking account the needs of it in the relationship. In i-it relationship, the attitude of I is that his/her partner (it) is not an equal subject in the relationship. I see himself/herself as a superior, but see it as an object and a subordinate to be manipulated for personal gain in the relationship. In i-it relationship there is no exchange of ideas between I and it. In i-it relationship, one part acts as a boss like Jonadab & Amnon while other part acts as a messenger (Tamar). People like I see themselves as superiors like Jonadab and Amnon in their relationships, and always think about themselves alone. Friends like I do not acknowledge the humanity of other people that are involved in the relationship with them. Friends like I do not like their actions to be questioned by other part in the relationship. According Steinberg (2007:163), the words that Buber uses to characterise I in the i-it relationship are: self-centred, pretence, domination, exploitation and manipulation. Steinberg (2007:12) argues that in i-it relationship, there is no mutual trust, openness and reciprocity between I and it but one part uses other part to achieve his own ends. She further stresses that there is no understanding of one another because i-it relationship does not include the option of agreement. In i-it friendship, there is no intimate relationship, and the communication is inappropriate and unrealistic. It was i-it interpersonal relationship that occurred between Amonn and Tamar. Amonn as I saw himself as a superior and perceived Tamar which was it as an object and as a result of this, his desire exceeded Tamar’s point of views on the issue of sex, and Amnon did not create option of agreement that Tamar offered by saying “My brother! Don’t force me. Such a thing should not be done in Israel don’t this wicked thing… Please speak to King, he will not keep you from me from being married to you, (1 Sam 13:12-13). However, irrespective of Tamar’s pleading, and the advice she offered concerning what Amnon was about to do to her, but Amnon ignored the opinions of Tamar because he viewed Tamar as an object to be manipulated for personal gain. He had no respect for Tamar’s womanhood, and the way he approached Tamar was inappropriate because he gripped Tamar to his bed and molested her without the consent of Tamar, (1 Sam 13:14). Amnon did not show any regretful of his actions, and he did not respect the humanity of Tamar because he acted as a boss plus dictator, and he treated Tamar as a cleaner and messenger by sending her away after he had achieved his wicked desire, (1 Sam 13:15-18). Tamar was deserted to carry cross alone with the stigma, and wound that Amonn had inflicted into her life, (1 Sam 13:19-20).
Beloved, are you also like Jonadab and Amnon as I who like to engage in I-it relationship just because of what you want to gain or get from other part, and after you have gotten what you want, you abandon other part, and treat other part like a trash or dustbin bin just the way Ammon treated Tamar as a garbage bin after he had achieved what he wanted from her (1 Samuel 13: 1-18). These kinds of friends like Jonadab and Amonn are self-centred, manipulator and dominators also see themselves as superior and subject in their friendship /relationship than the others. They do not acknowledge the humanity of other people that are involved in the relationships with them. They do not care if their motives of becoming your friends will hurt you or leave you into rotten position or cause serious damage into your entire life.
I-you interpersonal relationship:
I-you relationship: According to Buber in Steinberg (2007:162), the participants, both I and you have the opportunity to express themselves and to interpret each other’s messages. I and you approach each other with mutual respect and sincerity. In the I-you relationship, I do not make any attempt to impose a decision on you in the relationship. I and you reveal the person they really are, and nobody is dominating the relationship. Both I and you are patient, kind and forgiving. There is no superiority or seniority in the relationship because both I and you have developed an attitude towards each other that is honest, open spontaneous and interact with each other as unique. The relationship is not self-centred but authentic, truth with honesty dialogue result. The I-you relationship was the kind of relationship that occurred between David and Jonathan. Jonathan was I while David was you in the I-you relationship. Jonathan did not see himself as a superior over David, but Jonathan showed David unique love by loving him as himself even took off his royal robe he was wearing and gave it to David, (1 Sam 18:3-5).
Also Read: Your Tree and its Fruits
However, Jonathan was not self-centred because he did not join his father in ganging up against David and as a result of this, his father (King Saul) cursed him because of David (1 Sam 20: 27-31). Jonathan allowed David to express what he felt about King Saul. Jonathan strongly agreed with him that his father (King Saul) indeed wanted to kill David because of the kingdom, and even prayed for David that “May the Lord call David’s enemies to account,” and these enemies were king Saul and his warriors (1 Sam 20:14-16). There were no manipulation and deception in Jonathan and David’s friendship because Jonathan did not treat David as an object, and he did not impose his decision on David during their friendship. Jonathan accepted David’s decisions and feelings because when David felt that his life was no longer safe, he decided to leave, and Jonathan supported David’s decision (1 Sam 20:1-12). In addition, Buber further states that there is an interhuman domain in I-you relationship because both I and you become We due to intersubjectivity that is, both I and you acknowledge each other as a unique individual and acknowledge the difference between them to reach a deeper understanding of themselves, (Steinberg, 2007:162). Interhuman domain also occurred in some of the conversations Jonathan had with David because it got to one stage that Jonathan referred whatever he and David did as We. For instance, Jonathan said to David “Go in peace for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of LORD…,” (1 Sam 20:42).
Conclusion and Recommendations
Brethren, we must always know that beautiful relationship is spoilt by the devil because he does not want us to have godly relationships that will bring glory to God Almighty since he has lost his position in heaven, and beautiful relationship he had with GOD ALMIGHTY (Isa 14:12). The devil does not want any good thing to come out from a man, and he is always looking for whom he will be his prey (1 Peter 5:8). As a result of this, he enters some people through their relationships and corrupts their minds to kill, and destroy their friends because he knows that godly friendships will yield to success, and that is why he enters people to do evil to their friends, just as the way he entered Eve, and spoilt the relationship that existed between SOVEREIGN GOD ALMIGHTY, and man in the garden of Eden (Gen 3:1-24). Also he entered Judas (Luke 22:3) to betray our FATHER, JESUS CHRIST. Brethren, we must not give a room for the devil to use us against our friends or draw us to what is evil but always resist the devil (Psalm 141:4 & 1 Peter 5:5) . “Never give the devil the feeling that you have accepted what he suggested,” (Eneche Paul).
Nevertheless, beloved, friends can save at the same time, kill and destroy also. Olukoya (2019) believes that in our journey of life, we will come across and deal with both friends who are godly/faithful, and unfaithful/wicked. He further notes that some friends will add value to our lives, even lift us up while some friends will maltreat or harm us. In addition, there are some people who have sold their conscience to the devil like King Ahab (1 king 21:25), and they are always enjoyed sowing the seeds of pains and calamities into their lives of their friends without feeling bad or being remorseful for their actions because their consciences are dead or permanently muted, and such people make GOD ALMIGHTY regret that HE makes a man (Gen 6:6). Enenche (2019) discovers that God Almighty talks to us most of the time through our conscience, and if that conscience is damaged, guidance is hindered. Adeboye (2019) observes that a good conscience is a living conscience. God Almighty in HIS infinity mercies gives us a conscience to guide, restrain and regulate our daily actions. Adeboye (2019) posits that if an individual continually refuses to surrender to his/her control, his/her voice will be silenced because he/she is a reprobate who will never heed its warning. Brethren, If you know that you are a wicked friend or you have done evils to your friends, seek GOD ALMIGHTY and forsake your wickedness, and draw near to GOD ALMIGHTY (Isa 55:6&7). “Whatever a person does that brings pain to another person can provoke a curse upon the person doing such a thing,” (Enenche Paul).
On the other hand, brethren, if your friends have betrayed you in one way or many times and caused seriously damages with setbacks into your journey of life, may SOVEREIGN GOD heal your wound, and comfort you as well reward you for your kindness and faithfulness to such unfriends. Brethren, I want us to know that those friends that have betrayed you are being used by the devil to fast track your progress or promotion to where God Almighty is taking you to. You must let it go and forget the evil things unfaithful friends have done to you, and pray to GOD ALMIGHTY for the healing from the pains, hardships and setbacks the unfaithful friends have inflicted into your life. Wommack (2019) mentions that unforgiveness in our hearts will keep our prayers from being answered and he stresses that we should forgive others as quickly as it takes to make the decision to pray. In the meantime, Olukoya (2019) advises that we must not muse for too long over what people have done to offend us, and if we do, we will get bitter and develop hatred for them. Arterburn (2019) & Meyer (2019) embrace Olukoya’s advice by affirming that if we allow unforgiveness to continue and keep the records of things others have done to offend us, we are likely to experience depression and bitterness which can make our life altitudes, words and thoughts bitter. Arterburn suggests that “We can guard ourselves against repeated injury from our friends by removing ourselves from the relationship or by changing the rules of engagement; we can limit the person’s ability to continue hurtful behaviour.”
In addition, brethren learn how to trust GOD ALMIGHTY through it all the problems the friends have caused you to pass through in life, and you will never be put to shame (Romans 10:11) as well wait upon GOD for the renew of strength to move-on with your life (Is 40:31). I am perfectly sure that SOVEREIGN GOD will make you forget all the pains your friends have made you go through in life just as GOD ALMIGHTY made Joseph to forget all his troubles,(Gen 41:51-52) and you will be boldly telling your betrayed friends that “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good,” (Gen 50:20). Moreover, there is a crown waiting for you for what you have been through via unfaithful friends because after Judas betrayed JESUS OUR FATHER even charged to court for the crimes HE did not commit, and also suffered as well died for the sins of the world (John 19: 1-30), but at the end SOVEREIGN GOD ALMIGHTY exalted JESUS NAME to the highest place and gave HIM Name that is above every name… and every tongue confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD to the Glory of GOD The FATHER (Phil 2:9-10).
In the light of the above discussion, it is recommended that we seek the guidance of the HOLY SPIRIT before choosing the people will want to be mingling with as friends. If we are spirit-filled, we will be spirit-led to the right godly friends or association because the HOLY SPIRIT will reveal to us the character of the people will want to befriend. Brethren, we should allow HOLY SPIRIT to choose and speak to us who we must spend our time with, and not to allow pressure to influence our choice of friends. “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray,” (Prov 12:6). Adeboye (2019) suggests that we must let the HOLY SPIRIT have great influence in choosing our friends in order to avoid the snare of wicked peers and finish our race in heaven. He further points out that the Holy Spirit can never lead us astray or contrary to the words of God, (John 16:13). According to (Meyer:2019),“The Holy Spirit gives us the messages the Father gives to Him, and He often tells us things that will happen in the future.” Renner (2016) affirms that when we step into the territory or the journey we do not know, the Holy Spirit sees what we cannot see, knows what we do not know and knows the way we should go. It was the guidance of HOLY SPIRIT that helped Apostle Paul in his ministry by giving him the directions where to go and preach the gospel while Paul was prevented from some places to preach the gospel, (Acts 16:6-10). Wood (2014) posits that if we do not allow the Holy Spirit to work within us, we will be stranded in getting accurate guidance and direction to our journeys in life. HE opens light in the darkest hours of our lives. Meyer (2019) proposes that it is very pleasant and helpful to spend time with someone who truly hears from Sovereign God and who also accurately senses what the Holy Spirit is saying and doing. “Let the spirit of discernment guide you when relating with people. Not every ‘friend’ is a friend,” (Adeboye Adejare).
Above all, brethren, I encourage us to imbibe good virtues, and have the fear of SOVEREIGN GOD ALMIGHTY in our friendship or relationship because there is a reward for doing good or bad for our friends. We should recall that David remembered good deeds of Jonathan by showing kindness to his son Mephibosheth (2 Sam 9:1-13) and coupled with the Jonathan’s faithfulness, David also spared the life of Mephibosheth when the Gibeonites demanded for the heads of seven males from the descendant of king Saul, (2 Sam 21:1-9). In the same way, Elisha inherited a double portion of Elijah’s anointing as a result of his good deeds towards Elijah, in spite that the company of the prophets tried to ruin the relationship and love Elisha had for Elijah, but he was not discouraged he stood-by Elijah (2 King 2:1-6). Elijah also discovered that Elisha was a good companion and faithful friend that was why he asked Elisha “What can I do for you before I am taken from you,” (2 King 2:9-10). Elisha would not have become one of the powerful prophets in Israel had it been that he listened to the group of the prophets otherwise Elijah would have taken the anointing GOD ALMIGHTY gave him to heaven. Olukoya states that lack of good character has ruined many people and deprived them excellent possibilities. He further suggests that believers should cultivate godly character because godly personality serves as a ladder to bring believers to the top of the mountain with excellent achievement and accomplishments. Likewise, Daniel also remembered his friends’ good deeds by requesting the king Nebuchadnezzar to appoint Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as administrators over the provinces of Babylon (Daniel 2:48-49). What impact do you have on your friends, is it a positive or negative impact? Whatever we sow to our friends’ lives we shall surely reap it and JESUS CHRIST our Father says, “He will pay everybody according to his or her conducts (Rev 22:12, 2 Cor 5:10 & Jer 17:10 ).
“Cut off friends who draw you into things that can lead to regrets later in life, and attach yourself to a mature mentor, who is an example of living a Christ-like life,” (Adeboye Adejare).
“Company is a major determinant of destiny. There are people who have been raised by the right company and people who were ruined by the wrong company.
Your company can help or hinder you.
Your company can assist or resist you.
Your company can inspire or expire you.
Your company can bring out the best in you or the worst in you,” ( Eneche Paul).
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The above article was written by Dr T.E Shobiye [PR]