We say this a lot: you choose.
Read that one more time.
The choices you make are one of the most important tools in how you build life well. This is because your choices impact everything about your life. Whether it’s your mood, your response to people around you, or how you feel about your job, spouse, parents or God, your choices shape the way you experience and live your life.
One of the most significant choices you make are the people you permit to speak into your life on a regular basis.
Think about it. You’re with people all day, everyday. They’re with you on texts, calls, podcasts, YouTube TV, in your house, in the office breakroom and in your community.
Some of these people should have a place in your life. Others should not. Some will be an important part of your day almost every day. Others will have a more occasional and peripheral role.
In 1 Chronicles, we get a glimpse into how David delegated authority and assignments to leadership in Israel. Many people are named, but only certain people are recorded as having a place in his personal life. David’s most trusted relationships were selected relationships. He carefully chose the people who were closest to him.
In 1 Chronicles 27:32-34, we get a list of the select relationships surrounding David’s life as king.
Also Jonathan, David’s uncle, was a counselor and advisor, a man of understanding and wisdom, and a scribe; and Jehiel the son of Hachmoni attended (tutored) the king’s sons. Ahithophel was counselor to the king; and Hushai the Archite was the king’s companion and friend. Ahithophel was succeeded by Jehoiada the son of Benaiah and by Abiathar; and Joab was the commander of the king’s army.
As we look at this passage of scripture, we see three kinds of people David kept close at all times.
WISE COUNSEL. David chose his uncle, Jonathan, and a man named Ahithophel to be his advisors. These two were David’s closest counselors. They were selected for their wisdom and understanding. David trusted both to counsel, guide and help him navigate the challenges of leading a nation.
TRUSTED FRIEND. David is well known for his friendship with Jonathan. But there was another friend—a loyal friend and companion—who walked with David throughout his reign as king. While we don’t know much about Hushai the Archite, we know that he was with David through everything—from David’s affair with Bathsheba to his problems within his family. Hushai knew all about David, but no matter what David did, Husai remained faithful. He even saved David’s life and legacy when David’s own son, Absolom, betrayed him.
BATTLE BUDDY. Before David was known as a king, he was known as a fearless warrior. Remember, it was a young David who stood in front of a literal giant, Goliath, with some rocks and a slingshot. This valorous behavior characterized his life as a warrior and some of his most trusted companions. Among his closest friends was Joab—one of the most renowned warriors in all of Israel. Joab was fierce in battle. He fought with David and for David from the beginning, even before David reigned as king in Jerusalem.
The people David kept close were foundational to his leadership and to his everyday life. They were important personally and professionally. And they’re great examples of people you should keep close too.
To establish relationships like this, there are three qualities you need to look for.
1. Choose people with wisdom. Who you listen to for advice matters. David knew that a person’s closest advisors impact the course of a life, and in his case, the course of a kingdom. He made sure to choose wise people as counselors and guides. You need these kinds of people in your life too. They’re people who think carefully about what to say and what to do. You can see their godliness, experience and understanding in how they choose to speak and act, especially in difficult situations.
Proverbs 19:20 says this: “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.” When you choose your close relationships, choose people who walk in wisdom to walk with you.
2. Choose people who are trustworthy. Who you trust matters. You’ve heard this before, right? We all have! But a truly trustworthy friend or coworker isn’t easy to find, especially the kind who will risk their reputation, livelihood or even life to save yours. David knew the power of having a trusted confidant in his life, so he built trust with someone and invited them to walk alongside him every day. You need to do this too. It will take time to discover how well a person’s words and actions align, so be patient. Trust is what happens as you close the gap between what you know about someone and what you don’t know.
James 5:12b says this: “But instead we must be so full of integrity that our “Yes” or “No” is convincing enough and we do not stumble into hypocrisy.” When you choose your close confidants, choose people who are consistent in what they say and do.
3. Choose people who will fight with you and for you. Who you have by your side in tough times matters. Battles are a part of life. Some are physical; some are mental and emotional. And though your battles won’t be exactly like David’s, you need people who are battle-ready by your side. It’s even more effective when they battle for you in prayer. You aren’t meant to go through the hard places alone! Just like David, you’re meant to have people in your life who have your back. They’re the ones who fight for you and with you. And when everything’s over, they give you strength and protection to recover.
The lesson here is found in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” Choose people who are willing to fight with you and for you, especially in prayer.
These qualities will help you choose your relationships with greater care and awareness, but they don’t guarantee that things will be drama-free. Remember, even the people you trust the most are imperfect. This means they’ll do things imperfectly.
David experienced this first-hand. One of his most trusted advisors mentioned in the passage above, Ahithophel, betrayed him. This happened years into their relationship during an attempted coup. This betrayal was deep. It blindsided and devastated David.
We hope you never experience this. But no amount of hope or preparation will prevent the disappointment and hurt that comes from people letting you down. Even your closest relationships will go through challenging times.
Like David, you get to choose who you listen to the most and how you move forward when people let you down.
If you haven't viewed our free mentoring session yet, “Step Into Purpose,” we talk more about this topic. You’ll be challenged to consider these questions and more... and all in the context of God’s purpose for your life. We look forward to having you join us for this free mentoring session!
Until next time… choose relationships well and you’ll build life well.