I John 1:5-7 5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
I John 2:9-11 9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
These two passages combined remind me of some things about fellowship with other believers. First, I need fellowship. Without fellowship, I can be prone to walk in darkness. Other believers help me to stay in the light where God is. Sometimes others shed light through their life. Other times, other believers are the hands, voice, and love of God. God uses them to show me the light without their knowledge. At times, they see me in darkness and call me on my walk in that darkness.
Another revelation for me is the fact that my fellowship gives me some insight into my relationship with God. When I am struggling with fellowship with others, I am struggling with my relationship with God. My lack of good fellowship is not a “fellowship” problem, it is a “God” problem. If I claim that my walk with God is good; yet my fellowship with others is strained, I am deceived. My darkness has blinded me.
A further step into this logic would be that if I am avoiding fellowship, then I am very likely avoiding God. My brothers and sisters are an extension of God’s love and guidance. If I am avoiding them, I am likely avoiding God. Who knows why? I could be living out of my own selfish motives and do not want God to call me on that lifestyle. I may be ashamed with my life. I may feel abandoned by what I perceive as unanswered prayers. I may not want to be told what to do or that I may not be “right”.
The problem with all of this is that I cannot follow God on an island. Yes, He reveals Himself in so many ways. However, the most telling way to know that I follow God is through my fellowship with other believers. John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” To love, I must be in fellowship. To feel God with “skin on”, I must be in fellowship. To know whether or not I am right with God, I need to check my fellowship. To walk in light, I need others to point out where I am walking. I challenge you, as I do myself, to stay in fellowship.
1. Explain the comparison between your relationship with God and fellowship with others.
2. Describe what is going on or what has gone on when you have been out of fellowship with other believers.
3. As you look or reflect back, how is/was your relationship with God?
4. What needs to change in your relationship with God to enhance your fellowship with others?
5. Pay attention this week to how you feel about other believers you fellowship with. How is this related to your relationship with God?
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