We live in a culture that strongly values independence. From an early age we’re taught to do things for ourselves and make it on our own. And I don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong with that. I believe independence does have value and I have always prided myself on being an independent young woman. But in this culture of independence it can sometimes feel like we don’t know where to find valuable, healthy friends we can trust. In an atmosphere of shouting opinions and disowning those who disagree, how do we build lasting, genuine relationships?
Here is the simple truth: We were made for community. God never intended for us to go through life on our own. If that were the case, I don’t believe He would have created more than one person or blessed relationships in such a beautiful way in Scripture.
“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him.” (Genesis 2:18, Christian Standard Bible)
In the very beginning of life as we know it, when God created the earth and the sun, He decided that Adam didn’t need to be alone, that he needed someone around to help him. Scripture doesn’t give an extended definition of the word ‘helper,’ and there are plenty of different opinions out there as to Eve’s purpose in Adam’s life. I believe it is pretty self-explanatory. Whatever Adam did, Eve was there to help. Does that mean he always needed help? No, not necessarily. But God didn’t say He created Eve because Adam couldn’t survive without her. He said it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone, so God created Eve to simply be there.
The same can be said about the purpose of relationships in our lives today. We might not need people in order to survive and complete daily tasks, but it is helpful and encouraging and generally more enjoyable to have someone to talk to, work beside and walk with.
Adam could have named the animals on his own, but it was probably a lot more fun to name them with Eve. Did Adam really need Eve to help him tend the Garden of Eden? No, probably not. But I imagine it was much more enjoyable to trim the hedges and pick apples with her by His side.
We need God. We need our relationship with Him. It is really difficult to survive without it, especially when hard things happen. But I believe our earthly relationships are simply meant to make our lives more enjoyable and point us back to the goodness of God. It is so valuable to have good friends around to support us when life gets tough, to celebrate with us when dreams come true and to speak truth to us when we need it from someone we trust.
Jesus modeled this example in His life as well.
“I do not call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father.” (John 15:15, CSB)
Jesus, the Son of God, obviously didn’t need anyone. He was and is completely capable of fulfilling every need and desire on earth. But Jesus’ life always sets an example for us to follow and here He tells us that these 12 men weren’t just his followers or assistants, they were His friends. They were the people that He chose to spend the better part of His time with, to take with Him when He traveled, to share His deepest thoughts and feelings with and to speak Truth to at all costs.
Jesus modeled a life full of community and relationship, so I think it is healthy and important for us to do the same. Easier said than done, right?
As most of us know, it isn’t that easy to find genuine, healthy friendships. So, if we want to make developing relationships a priority in our lives, where do we go? I think the answer is found in the same examples of Adam and Jesus.
How did they gain these close friends? By walking with God. Both Adam and Jesus were walking in relationship with God, hearing His voice and seeking to do His will when God sent the ones He knew could be helpers into their lives. God created Eve to be with Adam. He pointed out to Jesus who He should walk with Him. And we will find true, lasting, helpful relationships in the same way; by walking with God, listening to His voice and following His guidance.
When we’re walking with God, He will send the friends we need in every season. He knows that He is enough for us, but He loves to give us the gift of community here on earth.
I believe relationships matter in our lives because they matter to God. And if we want to revive relationships in our lives, the best place to start is in His presence.
The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.