The Need for Friendship
2 Timothy 4:9-22
9 Do your best to come to me soon. 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia,[a] Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. 16 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus. 21 Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers.
22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
Independence is a prized attribute in our culture, but biblically, it isn't a worthy aspiration. Nowhere in Scripture will you find the erroneous quote, "God helps those who help themselves." The very fact that the Lord formed the church--a community of believers--should tell us that He did not 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. Look at any of the saints in Scripture, and you will find evidence of reliance 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 well (2 Tim. 2:22).
It's interesting to me that our modern culture seems to be headed in the opposite direction. The farther our nation drifts from God, the more pervasive our self-sufficient attitude becomes. Neighbors treat each other with suspicion instead of congeniality, and that mindset has invaded the church as well. We're hesitant to give to others, which in turn makes us reluctant to receive.
Scripture tells us to love one another, bear our brothers' burdens, and confess our sins to fellow believers (John 13:34; Galatians 6:2; James 5:16). In other words, we're to give ourselves away to others and receive from them in return. That's how church members can stimulate one another to Christlikeness.