By Brother Al Salay
Beyond friendship, beyond family, there is fellowship –
and, the most desirable fellowship, the most valuable fellowship, is with God: The Father, His Son Jesus, and His Holy Spirit. (1 John 1:3, 1 Cor. 1:9)
Pursuing fellowship with God.
As Christians we may see salvation and the entry into the family of God as the highest goal for a human life. It is indeed a goal that has eternal fruits. It is to be pursued and coveted. But family is not the end of growth. It is only a step.
Fellowship is more than family.
Some families are totally devoid of fellowship. Again, one may have many friends and acquaintances and yet have fellowship with none of them.
Fellowship is based on communion.
Fellowship is a “common union,” a two way street. It involves not just the business of the day but the business of the person. Fellowship takes place when two individuals enjoy the same things at the same time, together. Fellowship speaks of a unity in joy. The Holy Spirit is the bridge that unites two persons in Christian fellowship.
The communion of fellowship involves communication at the spirit level. It practices intimate sharing and concern. It is focused and intense. By the process of communion, one person comes to know another to the depth that they can often anticipate that person’s response to a new situation. If we are in fellowship with God we will know how to act in a new situation that we have never read about in the Bible. We can only know the answer to, “What would Jesus do?” if we are in fellowship with Him.
Fellowship is more than congeniality. Fellowship is camaraderie. Fellowship is the kind of relationship that allows an armor bearer to say to his warrior, Jonathan,
“Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.” [Samuel 14:6-7]
How could he say such a thing? How could he give such a ”blank check?” Only because he knew Jonathan’s heart and agreed with it. He knew he could trust the actions that would spring forth from that known and acceptable heart. This is fellowship. It is immersion in the heart of another.
God wants this fellowship. With us!
How do we achieve fellowship with God? First, we must be a friend of God. We must be part of the family of God. Then we must do exactly the same things we would do with a human friend to whom we were trying to grow closer.
We must spend time with our Friend.
Communion is the path to fellowship. Together, we must achieve understanding, an intimate knowing experience. The free sharing of our thoughts on the many issues of life is the only avenue. We must “talk it out” with Him. By His Holy Spirit, He will reveal His wisdom and insight. Just as the Holy Spirit joins two persons in Christian fellowship, He also joins an individual to God in fellowship. Joy will manifest as we agree in fellowship.
Joy plays a role in fellowship.
Whatever makes a person happy is a basis for fellowship with another person who has the same strong interest. (A person without joy will find fellowship sparse.)
One delightful example of this fellowship of joy is when we stand in the presence of God and rejoice over some aspect of His creation which we have just seen: a new flower, a glowing sunset, a soaring bird, a rainbow, a gracious loving act by one of His children. All are things in which He too rejoices. God loves His whole creation which He proclaimed to be “very good.” When we rejoice in that creation, along with Him, we indeed have fellowship with Him.
Fellowship with God takes place in the appreciation of His creation AND through His Word. Since both are limitless in the eyes and understanding of man, man’s opportunities for fellowship with God are also limitless.
Wisdom gained at the knee of God permeates our entire life.
- Examine His Word.
- Examine the bark of a tree.
- Examine the markings on a sea bird.
- Examine the majesty of the clouds.
Rejoice in fellowship with He who rejoices in us.
Well, how can a mortal man enter into this kind of fellowship with the eternal God? Simple. Do as instructed:
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” [Psalm 100:4]
When we thank Him for His loving grace and matchless provision we begin to draw close to Him. When we rejoice in praise we meld His joy with ours. Then, as surely as it is written in James 4:8,
“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.”
Then we can be in fellowship in His presence: sharing, rejoicing, learning, accommodating our spirit to His Holy Spirit. We can become more and more like Him.
In Psalm 23, v 6, we find the writer rejoicing that
“. . . I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
This is a prospect well worthy of rejoicing. Let us remember that “forever” starts today. Let us enter into His presence as quickly and as fully as we can.
He is willing, available, and responsive. It is such a loss that we often limit Him to a few assigned moments in our days. He would be with us constantly if we would allow it.
Think on this:
Often we merely interrupt the flow of the things of the world to make a few minutes to spend with Him. How much better it would be if we were continually in His presence and only looked away for a moment now and then to tend to the demands of the world.
That would be fellowship indeed!