16 Oct True Strength: Band of Brothers
Band of brothers is about what it means to be brothers in Christ. As men it is important to have male role models who pass down what it means to be a man. It is also important to have brothers to partner with on the journey towards heaven. Many guys long for brotherhood and to give their lives to Christ as it is simply too hard to overcome weaknesses alone. We need help to change our lives. In this episode we discussed the friendship between King David and Jonathan in scripture. This was an example of the kind of friendship that goes beyond the usual sports, girls or money talk.
What does it mean to be brothers in Christ?
Like biological brothers, spiritual brothers stand together and look out for each other. Real friendship is more than hanging out at the club or checking out the latest babes. Brothers in Christ go deeper. While having fun with friends is a good thing, God has so much more in mind for us than that. Christian brotherhood enables us to be our true, authentic selves and having a band of brothers that have your back is not only possible, but is exactly what God wants for you! But what does friendship mean to you? Do you have someone that you consider a true friend and why? Friends can be the people who stand up for us, defend us and help us become the men God created us to be.
“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become and still, allows you to grow” – William Shakespeare.
Christian brotherhood can make you better than you are on your own.
Not only does someone always have your back, but you also have the responsibility of being a brother to others and having their back. King David is a great example to us of brotherhood in both his strengths and weaknesses. If God is father to all of us, then that means we really are all brothers. Like in rafting, rock climbing or even football, everyone in brotherhood has to know their job and do their job to accomplish the goal. Each of us is dependent on the other. Christian brotherhood allows us to do things that we could never do on our own. Friendship, loyalty, sacrifice and purpose are the ingredients of true brotherhood.
- What would it be like if you were the only one on the team? Would you be able to accomplish the goal on your own? What if all the others on the team were doing their part, but you weren’t?
King David and Jonathan
King David started out as a mere shepherd boy but he became one of Israel’s greatest kings. Scripture describes him as a man after God’s own heart. He was motivated more by his love for God than his fear. The friendship between David and Jonathan began at the battle of Goliath. David and Jonathan demonstrated the ingredients for a good friendship: loyalty, shared vision and purpose. They were not afraid to sacrifice for each other and were constantly looking out for the good of the other. Friendship is more than just liking the people we hang out with and having fun. It is also two people standing side by side and looking out at a common vision together. David and Jonathan made each other better together than they would be on their own.
- What kind of an impact do you think a love for God can have on a friendship? What do you think of David and Jonathan’s friendship? How do you think David and Jonathan’s common vision affected their friendship?
We are human
David, like all of us, has some downfalls. Sometimes we can get too comfortable in our own life and stop trying to be the best version of ourselves. When we fall into deep pits of sin and deception, that’s when we really need our band of brothers. Nathan is the brother that David needs. David shows us how to be a true man even in our weakness. Brotherhood allows us to be better than we ever thought we could be, even when we have sunk lower than we ever thought we could. Why is it difficult to really change our lives for Christ on our own? How can our friends – our brothers- help us to be accountable to our values and faith?
The Battle is Real
There is a difference between a friendship where you can joke around all the time and a friendship where you feel free to go deep and truly be yourself. St. Paul teaches us that we are truly in a spiritual battle. You need people standing by your side to shield you from attack in the areas where you are most vulnerable. To have true friendship like this you have to take a risk.
- Take some time this week to pray Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. It presents a cord of rope as an image of brotherhood. In order to make a rope stronger, people will weave many cords together. The more cords there are and the thicker each individual cord, the stronger the rope is as a whole. What is God trying to tell us about brotherhood and His plan for us with this image? Reflect on this passage and imagine God speaking to you through it.
Below are examples of friends who could be good brothers in Christ for you. What are ways that you can be a good brother to them and how can you ask them to help you?
- Your Siblings: if you have brothers, spend time reflecting on how you can stand up for them and have their backs more. Sometimes our siblings are the hardest to love. As we grow spiritual brotherhood with our friends, it is important to also keep striving to improve our friendship with our siblings. Asking them if they need prayers fro anything is a good way to break that ice if you don’t already have that kind of relationship.
- Younger Men: You can also be a godly example for a younger boy by volunteering as a youth coach or as an assistant at a local school, in your parish education programs or at orphanage.
- Brothers in Heaven: Not only does God have brothers in mind for you on earth but he has also given us the saints for friendship and guidance. In fact they are the perfect role models for us because we know they made it to heaven! Spend some time this week looking into some male saints that inspire you to be a better man. Start to form a brotherhood with them in prayer and ask them to intercede for you.
“Men – this has always happened in history – bind their lives together to accomplish a collective mission and destiny. Is the unique destiny of eternal happiness worth less to the man and women of today?” – St Josemaria Escriva, The Furrow #729, Founder of Opus Dei.