We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
1 John 4:19
In speaking about the burnout of pastors, J.D. Greear says, in every case he’s seen, there’s one thing in common —isolation. “The difference between those who persevere and those who fall often comes down to this: close community around them.” But it's not just pastors that need to be cautious of isolation, we all need godly community, and godly community near us. Solomon said, “Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away” Proverbs 27:10. “Your ‘brother’ may be your closest friend, the guy you can share anything with. He gives incredible counsel and always looks out for you. But if he’s 100 miles away, he’s actually not as valuable as a guy you met six months ago in your small group.” Rev. Greear says, that God never intended any of us to live alone. Deep friendships with people you live and work with, and go to church with, is a part of discipleship. Nothing can replace the insight of someone who knows you.
The people in our sphere of influence are how Jesus reaches out to us. They give us love and wise counsel, and encouragement when we need it, and offer comfort when we’re hurting. These people who are close to us can apply the gospel like no other. Christian friends are so vitally important to our relationship with God.