RELATIONSHIP OR FELLOWSHIP?
“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ…This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth…” 1 John 1:3, 5-6.
Something is bothering me which I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.
If we claim to be in a relationship with God, why do many of us still have unbiblical ideas about God; for example, why do some of us think that God is punishing us when things go wrong? Why are we so reluctant to pray?
When I read what the apostles had to say in the New Testament, I find something in there that isn’t spoken about very often – fellowship. The apostle John writes about fellowship like this:
Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ…
But aren’t fellowship and relationship the same thing? I think we use the words interchangeably because we think they mean the same thing, but they actually don’t. Not if we read the story of the prodigal son correctly. The son had a relationship with his father. He was his son and, even though he was living it up in a far country, he did not stop being his son. But he was certainly not in fellowship with his father.
Even the son who stayed at home had no fellowship with his dad. He was angry with him and refused to go home to celebrate his brother’s return. He didn’t see things the way his father did, hence – no fellowship.
I think that there are too many “believers” who say they have a relationship with Jesus, but they are not in fellowship with Him. Fellowship is about spending time with Him so that one gets to know Him and learns to think like Him. Fellowship is about having things in common, about doing things together and about sharing our lives with Him. It’s about being connected to Him so that His life is in us and that we live His life through us.
If we have no fellowship with God, what’s the point? Fellowship means communicating with God so that our hearts become one. That’s Jesus’ passion, isn’t it?
“…I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:21.
The purpose of fellowship with God is to show the world what God is really like. That’s what Jesus prayed before He went to the cross. He came to re-establish the relationship between us and the Father so that we can have fellowship with God to put Him on display to the world.