Fellowship is an integral part of being a Christian. While churches promote it as part of their activities, we struggle to know what it is or how to have it. What we call “fellowship” often amounts to little more than socializing. But fellowship must be more than this, for we can socialize with the world and make small talk with non-Christians.
The word the New Testament uses for “fellowship” has the idea of participation or sharing. The Christian life is a shared life; being a Christian means sharing your life with other Christians and participating in each others’ lives. We are to be mindful of each other, regard each other highly, and help each other. To put it simply, fellowship means forming meaningful relationships with other Christians.
This may seem difficult or even impossible for you. Depending on your past experience, other Christians being involved in your life may sound like a curse instead of a blessing! But the Bible always presents fellowship as a blessing. So stop holding grudges, pick a few Christians whom you trust, and begin forming meaningful relationships with them.
Meaningful relationships go beyond small-talk or making acquaintances and center around four questions:
Question #1: What’s going on in your life?
It’s easy to make it seem like everything is alright at church. Many people who appear to be okay are hurting and confused. So open up to your Christian friends and tell them what’s going on in your life. Talk to them about your marriage, your kids, your job, and your finances. Share honestly about the good and the bad. Don’t try to impress them or make things seem better than they are.
Question #2: How are you growing in your relationship with God?
Your relationship with God is personal but not private. It’s your most important relationship and deserves to be talked about. Tell your Christian friends how you are growing closer to Him. Share how the Holy Spirit is working in your life to make you more like Jesus. Remind each other to practice godly habits and make wise decisions. Encourage and affirm each other to grow in godliness.
Question #3: How are you failing to grow in your relationship with God?
It’s easy to make it seem like you are spiritually mature and healthy at church. Many people who appear to be close to God are struggling with sin or making decisions that deviate from His will. So confess your sins and shortcomings to your Christian friends. Share how you are struggling and failing. Don’t be arrogant and act like you don’t sin, and don’t be ashamed and act like you’re the only one who sins.
Question #4: How can I help?
As you and your Christian friends get to know each other, find meaningful ways to be involved in each others’ lives. Become a helpful and regular presence for each other. There’s no better place to receive prayer, affection, and support than from other Christians. Make the effort to have more than friendship; strive for fellowship.
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