Often relationships with fellow believers lack evidence of being empowered by God’s Spirit. This is a strange phenomenon because every regenerated child of God has been equally “called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). We should be in awe of what the Lord achieves in each other through spiritual rebirth at salvation. Sadly, this is not always the case.
When the apostle prayed for the “grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14), he asked for the very best of God for the Corinthians. Here is a good thermometer of spiritual health. Is God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit actively expressing themselves through your relationships? If not, you would do well to reconsider the reality of Jesus Christ as Lord in your life.
Now, Scripture gives clear principles for how to enrich fellowship with others through the example of the first generation believers. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). The richest of fellowship occurs when God’s children have genuinely soft-hearted attitudes towards each other flowing out of authentic faith in Christ. Central to this is the mutual desire of all believers to spend time submissively sitting under the teaching of God’s Word together.
Worship and prayer are also the outcome of fellowship under God’s Word. There’s no self-seen here. Here we observe faithfulness and loyalty to both God and His people centred in Christ. The “breaking of bread” together has greater importance for believers when fellowship with Christ is experienced through the fellowship of the saints.
This means, following sound instruction in Scripture, you will not criticise, demean, judge or belittle your fellow believer. You see, if you “walk in the light, as he [Jesus] is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). When you are cleansed from sin, there will be no place for sin to worm its way into your relationships with your brother or sister in the Lord. Instead, you will rejoice in the intimacy of Christ centred oneness. Self should fade into insignificance as Christ is increasingly dominant. This is the foundation of unity in the Church.
When the Holy Spirit distributed gifts amongst believers, Paul observed that all were equally “empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11). Every Christian is equally blessed with personalised spiritual abilities exactly as the Holy Spirit determined. No-one misses out, no-one is shown favouritism, and no-ones giftedness is more significant that anyone else’s.
However, so often God’s children get caught up with comparing one with another. Selfishness then damages the potential for sweet fellowship. Recognition of the spectacular working of God’s Spirit in His design and functionality of Christ’s body should secure every relationship. So what can overcome natural sinful compulsions which damage instead of enriching? The answer is humility!
You see, self detracts from Christ, and it estranges you from intimacy with others. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). Paul summed up Christ centred fellowship this way; “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).
I encourage you to pursue fellowship empowered by God’s Holy Spirit.