We Need to Pursue Fellowship with Christ
In my most recent article – Weddings Are Easy But Marriage Fellowship Takes Time – I discussed the fact that in order to make any relationship work, especially marriage, people have to actually pursue fellowship with one another. That goes for relatives, friends, and married people. Relationships don’t simply happen. Even though it may appear as though they start out that way, they take an effort from both sides to maintain them.
In our relationship with Jesus, the only way we can enter into and remain in fellowship with Him is actually the same way we enter into and remain in fellowship with any other person. We treat our relationship with Him truthfully and of course, there is a certain amount of sacrificial living that is part of any healthy relationship.
The hard part of our relationship with Jesus is that we cannot see Him, we cannot hear Him, we cannot gauge His body language, etc. Our relationship with Jesus – unlike every other relationship we have – is based on faith and our ability to believe God’s Word in light of the fact that we cannot sit down with Jesus as Moses did, or as the apostles did and simply learn from Him. We cannot watch him relate to others or work among others.
If we do not rightly understand God as revealed in His Word, we are off to a bad start and we will be forever in and out of fellowship with Christ, mainly out more than in. For instance, I cannot willfully or knowingly live in sin and expect to have fellowship with Jesus at the same time. It’s one or the other. In fact, it is quite clear that once a Christian moves off into the land of sin, the Lord does not follow. Did He break off fellowship with us? No, we broke off fellowship with Him. It’s that simple.
Even if we agree that relationships take work, it is also possible for relationships to be ruined due to wrong interpretations of the other person’s motives. This is a very important part of growing a relationship. We cannot be in truthful fellowship with another person unless we honestly understand them to the best of our ability and are honest with them in return. Clearly, this is why good relationships are always growing. In fact, it is this truthfulness within the relationship that helps it to grow.
We’ve all heard of the husband or wife who cheats on the other. Their secret life eventually comes out and the truth of it often destroys existing marriages. Yet, until the secret is discovered, too often, the cheating spouse pretends as though no cheating is going on and may even in fact be “nicer” and more “caring” with their spouse, all the while they’re living it up with another immorally.
The Prodigal Son of Luke 15 left his father’s presence to pursue a life of debauchery and sin. He did so because he failed miserably at understanding His father’s love for him. The son’s understanding of his father was not based on truth. It was based purely on the son’s misunderstanding of his father’s character and personality. In essence, the son had believed lies and the result was a lifestyle that was far removed from the upbringing he had.
Notice though that the father did not follow after his son, even to try to get his son to change his mind. In fact, I don’t see Jesus doing this in the gospels; chasing after people if they rejected Him. The Prodigal Son was determined to move out of his father’s presence – thereby breaking off fellowship with his father – and enjoy some old-fashioned sinful living. The father let him go, just as God allowed Adam and Eve to follow their own desires. He will allow us to follow our own desires as well even though it might destroy us.
Did the son stop being his father’s son? Nope. Did the father condemn the son? Nope. In fact, I’m sure he wasn’t pleased, but the father eagerly looked for his wayward son’s return. Once he saw that his son had chosen to come back, the father ran to the son greeting him on his way back to the father!
In essence, the father desperately wanted his son to return to him so that he could enjoy fellowship with his son once again! In order to be and remain in fellowship with his father, the Prodigal Son had to do see things differently. This he did when he “came to his senses.”
What kept him from that in the first place? The wrong way that he viewed his father. He did not see his father as he truthfully was and because of that, he grew angry and disheartened because of the lies he did believe about his father. This caused the son to pull away.
We Christians are often like that. We think the only way God will love us is if we are obedient. Certainly, God wants our obedience, but He wants it from a correct view of Him. He continues to love us even when we fail. Because of our ignorance on the subject, we tend to view our relationship with God as being based on a form of legalism. We come up with lists that we believe will please God.
Certainly, God is pleased when we obey Him but let’s face it, we can “obey” Him outwardly but not from the heart. In such a case, are the actions of our life pleasing to Him? It would appear that the Bible is clear on that. Read Isaiah 1:11 or Matthew 15:8 to find out God’s answer. Yep, take a moment to put this article aside and open His Word.
If all I did was legalistically do things for my wife without doing them from a heart of love, how does that prove my love for her? It doesn’t. Would I even have a sense of loving her? Doubtful. I would be too concerned with getting everything “right.” In fact, I would likely grow resentful of having to do all the things I thought I should do because I’m not doing them from the heart, but from willpower; my own strength.
When I fell in love with my wife, I wanted to be around her all the time. Doing things for her required no energy at all. It was easy.
Did that remain? No, it dissipated after the “honeymoon” period. To bring that back, I needed to remember why I fell in love with my wife in the first place. As I return to those days of my “first love” for her, focusing on why I love her and what things attracted me to her, it then becomes easier to do things for her once again. That first love needs to be continually fanned into flame…always. If not, it will die a slow death and coldness or aloofness will seep into the relationship. Coldness pushes people apart. It is the same with our relationship with God in Christ. We need to pursue Him, to remind ourselves daily why we came to love Him in the first place. We do this by remembering His life, His sacrifice, on our behalf.
The Prodigal Son left, lived wildly, sunk very low and then…voila, he ultimately came to his senses (Luke 15:17). In other words, he saw the “light.” He began to realize the truth about his father. That helped him see what an idiot he had been and how wrong about his father he had been. His thinking changed based on truth, therefore correct actions followed.
Up to that time, the son was a son, part of the family. He was related by blood to his father. He had the rights and privileges of being a son by birth. Yet, he saw his father as arrogant, mean, dictatorial, tenacious, and in short, the son saw his father in the wrong way. That wrong way colored the way he looked at their relationship. The lies he believed about his father effectively ruined their relationship. There was no fellowship between father and son. It was a relationship of works based on legalism.
Yet, once the son’s eyes were open to the truth about his father, the entire relationship changed even though nothing changed about the father! Not one thing.
Truth opens our eyes to salvation and when we embrace that salvation, it entitles us to enter into fellowship with God in Christ. It is there for the taking but we must pursue it. In order for that to happen, we need to remind ourselves about the truth of God. The more we know His Word, the greater the knowledge of truth we will have.
Good relationships do not simply happen or sustain themselves. It requires work on each person’s part. God is always waiting for us to pursue Him in fellowship. Are we doing that? Are you doing that?
I think there has been quite a bit of confusion regarding this whole topic and while I will admit that I don’t understand it perfectly, it seems that the Lord is bringing me to the point of gaining a more firm grasp on it. Many make the mistake of thinking this has to do with potentially losing our salvation. In reality, we are constantly warned or encouraged about breaking off fellowship with Him.
Does my love for and knowledge of God prompt me to pursue and maintain fellowship with Him? If so, it will not be so easy for me to fall away from Him in sin.
We’ll be back!
Entry filed under: christianity, eternity, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: fellowship with christ, fellowship with jesus, luke 15, marriage, prodigal son, relationships.