There is no way to overestimate the importance of friends. Next to our relationship with God alone, our relationships with each other are the most vital.
Jesus said it this way in Matthew 22:27-29, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Note, though that the order just changed. Many of us think of friendship as mutual. While that is certainly natural, it is not what God has in mind. He commands us to simply give our love. He never says it has to be returned, much less that it will be returned (at least, by man). After all, we cannot ever begin to think of fully returning God’s love for us (think Cross).
I become increasingly convinced that we (OK, me) just don’t get it. This world is just a trap, unless we rise above the worldly temptations and distractions. Who can really say that they prioritize loving God with everything and loving each other to the level God commands – as ourselves? Our world is hardly oriented that direction.
Loving is work. Love is not just an emotion, as we are often led to believe. Make no mistake that Julie sure has to work hard at it to love me. It is sure a lot easier for me to love her. God likens a marriage to our relationship to Him. Likewise, based on our work, it is a lot easier for me to love God than it is for Him to love me.
God has a perfect plan for the world. That plan is love.
1 John 4:11-20 says, “Dear friends, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God resides in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we reside in God and he in us: in that he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God. And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him. By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. We love because he loved us first.
If anyone says “I love God” and yet hates his fellow Christian, he is a liar, because the one who does not love his fellow Christian whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. ”