Growing up and living in western culture has had a great impact on everyone of us and how we live. That includes the church. As westerners we are independent and like to do things on our own. We believe in pulling yourself up by your own boot straps and making an effort to live independently from each other. A majority of westerners do not want to be dependent on others. In some areas this is a good thing, but in many areas this can become problematic. We cannot walk the Christian walk on our own. God has called us to live as a community. He wants us in fellowship. Without it we will fail.
Most mornings before I head into work I start my day off at Smokey Row Coffee Shop in downtown Des Moines. I use that time to meet with a different brother in Christ each morning. The goal of those times is to encourage one another in the Lord by sharing His word and discussing ways to apply it to our lives. We share life’s difficulties, our shortcomings, look to each other and the Scriptures for solutions and pray for one another. The mornings I am disciplined and talk about the things of the Lord are the mornings I leave to start my day encouraged and full of the Spirit, even the days we talk about hard things. On the days I am not disciplined and I spend my time talking about football, current events, or pop culture I do not leave with the same feeling. During that time I did not sin, yet I leave often unencouraged and with the wrong focus.
God calls us to relationships that center around Him. That is why when we focus on serving the Lord together we are so encouraged. In Hebrews 10 the author writes: “Let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” We have been called to gather for times of worship meetings. What are worship meetings? To worship means to show reverence and adoration. During these times we are to show reverence and adoration to God. Our times with other believers must be centered around the Lord. We must not be afraid to talk about the Scriptures or God. Rather, we should do it regularly. He should be the all consuming part of our relationship with other people.
For most of us, myself included, I fall into the habit of not having these types of meetings. Not that I don’t meet with other believers, rather that I spend most my time talking about things that don’t really matter. We must all assess whether or not we are in true Christian fellowship.
In Hebrews 3 the author also warns: “Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.” If we live a life without true fellowship we risk being hardened by sin’s deception. It is during our times with fellow believers that we often get our minds renewed and our spirits refreshed. It is also where we see the Bible in action as we get messy with people. It is more than just a concept. It is real life. Fellowship is not optional, and it is also not periodical. Rather it is daily. Without fellowship you will likely depart from the living God.
Brothers and sisters we must renew our minds from western culture and admit our need for other people. If we are to finish the race we must get in the habit of regularly meeting together in worship meetings. We must frequently and openly talk about who God is and how He is working in our lives. We must live life together. We must encourage each other. We must be the Church.
by Greg Baker