Devoted to Develop
You are joined together with peace through the Spirit, so make every effort to continue together in this way.” (Eph 4:3 NCV)
It takes effort and the blessing of the Lord to produce a loving Christian community. You and I have our part in making it happen.
You have to care enough to lovingly speak the truth, even when you would rather gloss over a problem or ignore an issue. Most people have no one in their lives who loves them enough to tell them the truth(even when it’s painful), so they continue in self-destructive ways. Don’t let fear keep you from saying something necessary when courage to speak up is needed. Remember whatever you say, “speak the truth in love,” (Eph 4:15) because without candor there can be no community. Paul wrote, “Brothers and sisters, if someone in your group does something wrong, you who are spiritual should go to that person and gently help make him right again….By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ.”(Gal 6:1-2 NCV) Real fellowship, whether in a marriage, a friendship, or your church, depends on loving frankness. When conflict is handled correctly, we grow closer to each other by facing and resolving our differences.
Pride bills walls between people while humility builds bridges. Humility is the oil that shoots and soothes relationships. “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another,” is Peter’s admonition. (1 Peter 5:5 NIV) The proper dress for fellowship is always a humble attitude. You develop humility by admitting your weaknesses, by being patient with other’s weaknesses, by being open to correct, and by pointing the spotlight on others. Paul wrote, “When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. "Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others.” (Phil 2:3-4 NCV)
Courtesy is respecting differences, being considerate of each other’s feelings, and being patient with people who irritate us. God puts these people in our midst for both their benefit and ours. In a family, acceptance isn’t based on how smart or beautiful or talented you are. It’s based on the fact hat we belong to each other. That’s why we defend and protect family. “Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other.” (Rom 12:10 GW) Community has nothing to do with compatibility but rather our relationship with God. We are family. Real community also happens when people know it is safe enough to share their doubts and fears without being judged.
Only in the safe environment of warm acceptance and trusted confidentiality will people open up and share their deepest hurts, needs, and mistakes. What is shared with one another needs to stay there, health with, and never gossiped with others about. Prov 16:28 says, “Gossip is spread by wicked people; they stir up trouble and break up friendships.”
Relationships take time and the Bible says, “Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another.” (Heb 10:25 TEV). This is why fellowship is so shallow in many churches because we don’t spend enough time together, and the time we do spend is usually listening to one person speak. Community is not built on convenience but rather a conviction that it is essential, even when you don’t feel like it. In Acts 2:46, “They worshipped together regularly at the Temple each day, met in small groups in homes for Communion, and shared their meals with great joy…” Fellowship requires an investment of time and only you can choose to do it.
In conclusion, focus on these 9 key components of Biblical fellowship:
Striving for these components prepares us for heaven.
Personal Prayer Focus:
Lord, I take my responsibility in making fellowship happen.
I will share honestly with other in love.
I will maintain a humble attitude, always preferring the feelings of others.
I will always respect others no matter what they share with me.
What others share with me is not for others to hear.
And I know that it takes time so I will make time and invest myself into fellowship.
In Jesus’ Name.
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