This week I’ve been blessed to spend some one-on-one time with several friends. Our conversations have been encouraging and have ministered deeply to my heart. I also love those informal gatherings when a group of friends spend time together. Recently, we spent an evening with some new friends and we took turns sharing snippets of our faith life journey with each other. There was laughter, marvel at God’s mercy and grace, and, at the end of the evening, we felt closer to each person in the group. These are pictures of true fellowship.
While I have been reading the book of 1 John over the past few days, the word fellowship just kept jumping off the page of my Bible. I began to dig deeper because I wanted to better understand this word and the wonderful truth within these verses. The word is woven throughout 1 John and several verses give us examples for living in fellowship with God and with one another.
Fellowship begins with an authentic and personal relationship with God the Father through His Son, Jesus. When we have accepted God’s gift of salvation, we will enjoy fellowship with the Father and the Son, including eternal life with Him.
“So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us.” ~ 1 John 2:24, 25
The author also explains that we have fellowship with one another because of our personal walk with God. Fellowship takes us to a deeper and richer relationship with other people. Because I walk in fellowship – close, meaningful relationship – with the Lord, then I can experience fellowship with other believers.
“But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other.” ~ 1 John 1:7
Fellowship with God and people involves living in the light – my daily walk with Jesus. Am I reading His Word, praying, and seeking His direction? Do I obey His commandments (1 John 3:24)? When I spend time with others, do we share what God is teaching us? Do we talk about ways that we desire to grow spiritually?
The Life Application Study Bible states, “True fellowship combines social and spiritual interaction, and it is made possible only through a living relationship with Christ.” (p. 2119)
Our human hearts long for true fellowship with God and with people. That personal relationship with God the Father through His Son, Jesus is the crucial starting point. In order to stay in fellowship we must live in the light of His Word and follow His commandments. Then, we can enjoy fellowship with others who have a personal relationship with Him.
“He is the Word of life…And now we testify and proclaim to you that He is the one who is eternal life… We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.” ~1 John 1:1-4