2 Timothy 4:9-22 (NIV)
9 Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.
14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 15 You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.
16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
19 Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastusstayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.
22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.
Independence is something that is very highly prized in our culture, but biblically, it isn’t a worthy aspiration. Nowhere in the Bible will you find the erroneous quote, “God helps those who help themselves.” The fact that God formed the church, a community of believers, should tell us He didn’t create people for self-sufficiency or isolation.
When we place faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us so we can have a fulfilling relationship with the Lord and satisfying friendships with one another. In God’s design, a close, committed biblical friendship between two believers serves to build both toward Christlikeness. Over and over in Scripture, we find evidence of God’s followers relying upon a close friend or confidante for support. Paul, in particular, spoke freely and often of his dependence upon dear companions and encouraged others to form intimate partnerships as will. We see this very clearly in the above passage.
It’s interesting to me that our modern culture seems to be headed in the opposite direction. The farther we drift from God, the more pervasive our self-sufficient attitude becomes. Neighbors treat each other with suspicion instead of congeniality, and that mindset has even invaded the church. We’re hesitant to give others, which in turn makes us reluctant to receive.
The Bible tells us to love one another, bear our brothers’ burdens, and confess our sins to fellow believers. We see this clearly stated in the following three passages:
John 13:34 (NIV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
James 5:16 (NIV)
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
In other words, we’re to give ourselves away to others and receive from them in return. That’s how church members can encourage one another to Christlikeness.
We can’t accomplish this alone. We need one another. We need friendship.