September 27, 2015

Growing in Fellowship

Last week I shared with you some of my thoughts on friendship, taken from a message I delivered last year about the Garden of Friendship.  I asked you to think about what your friendships looked like and if they were healthy relationships.  This week I want to encourage fellowship. 

According to Hebrews 10:25, we must not neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  This speaks to me in so many ways because a lot of times we go through the motions and never fully develop meaningful relationships.  We all need each other to hold one another up, bear each other’s burdens, hold each other accountable, not to mention laugh and cry with. 

Many of us have friends we have known all of our lives and some we just bonded with last week, but the common thread is that fellowship we had prior to it becoming a relationship.   

 John 15:5 says, “I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.  This lets me know that everything must be rooted and grounded in the true vine; including our friendships.  If we fellowship with one person or a hundred, when it’s all rooted in the true vine, even if there is conflict it will be blessed.  That doesn’t mean that you will all become best friends, talk and text every day or spend a lot of time together, it just means that it’s a fulfilling and supportive relationship whether near or far or just for a season.

I have a friend from elementary school that I lost touch with for many years, and we recently reconnected and it was as if we never missed a beat, although we are both adults now with responsibilities of our own.  I asked her one day for some guidance on something I was struggling with and just like that she responded and kept me on her mind until the issue was resolved. 

So, when we talk about friendship and fellowship…what is the value?

·       Be someone who listens
·       Be someone who is safe
·       Be someone who is a helper
·       Be someone who can give and receive
·       Be someone who weathers turbulence
·       Be someone who knows when to call it quits if it’s not really working

Ready to sit and talk a while

At one point I was attending a home group as a part of my church’s weekly outreach. The point of it was that since the church was large and had several different services, you may or may not connect with someone regularly.  The purpose was to promote fellowship.  I met some wonderful women during my time with the group; we met once a week and sometimes someone fixed a casserole and we talked for hours.  We discussed the previous Sunday’s sermon, or if someone was going through a challenge, we supported them or just had a time of prayer.  I cannot begin to tell you how amazingly awesome that experience was for me.  Fellowship.

We also prayed for each other throughout the week and encouraged each other until the next time we met.  We held each other accountable: exercise, healthy eating habits, finances, reading the word.  We shared, we laughed, and we prayed…fellowship.  I can call each of them a friend, at different levels.  We all made up that garden and made sure it was watered so it would grow.  Fellowship.

So, as we think about fellowship with others, what is your relationship like with the one that loved you first?  Is it full of praise and worship? Do you pray and talk to God?  Do you spend time in His word?  Do you honor Him with your relationships?  Your speech? Your attitude? What does your fellowship look like with Him? 

Thinking about blessings of friendship

John 7:38 reminds us “He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart (and his innermost being) shall flow rivers of living water”. What’s flowing from you and is it watering the garden in the drought? 

Honor God with your life, with your friendships and your relationships and fellowship with Him.  The amount of honor we show others, the more favor pours on us.  And how many of us want favor?

But remember, even if you have no one else, you still have the ultimate friend.

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