Just recently, the Lord has used so many people in my life to show me the value and importance of having fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. And I really wanted to share this with you tonight because the Lord talks about fellowship and I know that sometimes I forget how vital it is in our Christian walks to have intimate fellowship and communion with the body of believers.
Fellowship. Such a beautiful and meaningful word in the lives of us all. It is especially important in our walks as Christians to not only have fellowship with one another, but to also lovingly and graciously hold each other accountable and to encourage one another. “And let us consider how we may spur one another toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.” Hebrews 10:24-25.
Something that I have realized, through both personal experience and through hearing other people talk about it, is that it is so difficult to go through life when you are alone. Yes, the Lord wants intimate time with you and there are times He even calls you to step back and be alone for a while so that you can solely rely on Him to be your strength, security and comfort. But having godly fellowship not only is there for us so we can hold one another accountable, but also to give each other encouragement.
Working out is a good example of this. When you work out on your own, it is very easy to doubt yourself, and to not push yourself as hard as you know you can. You may have set a goal when you started and since it is just you, you may not have tried hard enough to reach that goal. But, if you work out with a friend, you both can encourage each other to keep pushing on and to work even harder to reach your goal. They will hold you accountable for the goal you set and when you start to fall behind, they are there to keep building you up so that you have an easier time achieving what you set.
This also goes for our walks as Christians. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1. Life can sometimes be like a 5K marathon! There are obstacles, there are challenges. There is training, power drills, and endless nights of preparation. And when we look at the whole race we have to endure, it can be discouraging sometimes. But having a true friend there mean so much.
Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” I have always found this as an interesting verse to think about. Iron sharpening iron doesn’t sound comfortable. And when we think about that in terms of a friend “sharpening” their friend, it can be uncomfortable when we hold each other accountable; it doesn’t always feel good or loving at first. But in the end, it sharpens us and prepares us for the battle against the enemy. We are called to love one another as Christ loved us, and that means that even when it may feel uncomfortable, we need to call one another out when we are out of line and encourage each other when we are doing well. Proverbs 17:17 says “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Fellowship is what God intended specifically for difficult times.
That doesn’t mean that our value, hope, trust or even our strength should be placed in friends or in people. No, those things are to be found in the Lord alone, because He is the only one who can truly satisfy. But I also know that Christ gives us friends because He knows that we need support, we need encouragement. It is important for our growth as Christian to be encouraging toward each other, to learn and grow, and to show love to each other. It brings such joy to have a fellow brother or sister in Christ by your side when things become difficult. The unity that Christians can share together is something God desires for us to know and experience in our lives together within the body of His children and His church.
As Christians, we all need to come together and become one body of believers in Jesus Christ. Encourage one another, hold each other accountable to the standards we claim as disciples of Jesus, love each other. A passage I hold very dear to my heart is “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up… also if two lies down together they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.
I truly believe that as a church, it is so important for us to be coming together. We need to be founded on the Word of the Lord, intentionally seeking Him and His will in our lives and in our country. And across the country, across the world, that doesn’t always seem to be happening. Brothers and sisters turn away from one another and instead of gently approaching the issue and willingly excepting support and encouragement, they are not coming together in communion.
I challenge you to go to your friend in Christ and spend time in fellowship with them. Speak with brotherly love and encouragement, let Christ be the focus, and take part in communion together. I also want to say thank all the friends in my life right now who have stuck by me even when things have gotten hard. I especially want to thank my best friend Jordan and my sister Angelica, because you two have been there for me when I have been very difficult to love and when things seemed impossible. Spending time with them, not just reading the Word together but just spending quality time laughing and just enjoying little things in life, has made me so very grateful that God has blessed me with friends that are not afraid to speak that truth to me with love and gentleness.
I pray that tonight, you are able to hear what the Lord intends you to. Maybe there is someone you have been thinking about the whole time you’ve read this. Maybe you are reading this and you realize that the people you are friends with are not encouraging you to be strong in the Lord or to pursue Him. In both cases, I would say seek the Lord. Thank Him for the friends that you can have intimate fellowship with and pray for direction in what to do when those people are not trying to build you up in Christ. “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11-13.
After reading this, I encourage you to do just as the verse above instructed; acknowledge those in your life who are hard working and are intentional about building you up in Christ. Give them a quick call or send them a text and just encourage them to keep doing what they’re doing. And remember to thank the One who blessed you with the opportunity to experience what fellowship really is. I hope this is somewhere that you will continue to come to learn and grow with me, as we embrace the fellowship we have as brother and sisters in Christ. Have a great rest of the week everyone! God bless!