I recently had surgery on my foot. As a result, I was homebound for the whole month to recover. In that time I quickly realised that it isn’t normal or healthy for a Christian to be away from the community of God’s people. We need each other to grow in him, no matter the circumstances. Thus while I waited and looked forward to getting better I longed to be with God’s people in fellowship. When I eventually returned it was wonderfully refreshing. I was filled with so much joy and thanksgiving to God. This experience reminded me of Psalm 100:4. It says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”
It isn’t normal or healthy for a Christian to be away from the community of God’s people.
It is easy to neglect the time of fellowship with one another as God’s people. And yet it is very crucial that we fellowship with one another regularly. God commands as much. In Hebrews 10:25 we read, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the day approaching.” By fellowship, I am referring to Christians collectively sitting under God’s word, praying together, sharing their lives and a meal, as part of God’s community.
Investing In Christian Community Will Be Costly
I remember when I finished my university studies many years ago. I was offered a part-time job at the nearby pharmacy. This would mean working some weekdays as well as weekends. However, I was upfront about my priorities to my potential employer. I mentioned that I wouldn’t be able to work on Sundays, because of my commitment to serve at church. This decision was going to give me an opportunity to fellowship with other believers, as well as teaching the Bible to children. My employer was not a Christian. But he respected my decision and actually offered me a full-time job.
Our priorities will shape our lives and souls.
This plan may work differently for you in your own context. But the fact is that in all our commitments, and however challenging that may look, we need to encourage one another not to compromise on regularly gathering with our Christian community. We must ask God to give us courage to be upfront about and consistent with our priorities. For our priorities matter to God, while they will also shape our lives and souls.
Fellowship Is Fundamental To Christian Identity
The life of fellowship is a fundamental part of our identity as God’s people. It is part of who we are as Christians, those who’ve put their trust in Jesus. Moreover, when we become Christians we become part of the body of Christ, the church. A delightful example of Christian community is seen in Acts 2:42-47, where “the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers … and they had all things in common.”
Life is busy and demanding. We have targets to hit and deadlines to beat. We get caught up with our work or other commitments. Unfortunately, we often end up compromising on one of the most valuable things: time with God’s people. Now, I’m not suggesting that our work is less important than fellowshipping with other believers. Rather, my intention is to raise the matter of priorities.
We shouldn’t only fellowship when we have time. Rather we should make time for it.
We shouldn’t only fellowship with other believers when we have time. Rather we should make time for it. Consequently, we must live in fellowship as believers because God created us to be in fellowship with him and to be in fellowship with one another. Psalm 133:1 reminds us about the beauty of meeting together in unity as God’s people, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” God made us for fellowship.
“Don’t Neglect Meeting Together”
I have personally seen great value in meeting with God’s people. It has impacted my faith tremendously. And I’ve grown as a result of meeting with other believers together under the teaching of God’s word, to encourage, rebuke, and bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-2). As Proverbs 27:17 reminds us, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Christian community has also been a strength when I’ve felt weak.
So, the more I met for Christian fellowship the more I desired to spend increasing amounts of time with them, both in good and bad times. This is worth more than anything in the world. It is priceless. Thanks be to God for the ministers who keep on faithfully exhorting us not to neglect meeting with other believers because it has eternal value (Hebrews 10:24-25).
We should long for fellowship with one another for the sake of spiritual growth.
Therefore, as God’s people, we should constantly be longing for fellowship with one another, in every season of life, for the sake of our spiritual growth and godliness. Meeting in fellowship as God’s people is rewarding and priceless. Thus, we should take our time of fellowship seriously as our response of gratitude to God for what he has done for us through Jesus on the cross, and for the sake of obeying him as our Lord.