If we're made for love, then we'll never receive the fullness of God's blessings without great relationships, for love requires relationships. In fact, the Holy Spirit is the relationship between the Father and Son.
Here are many ways God rewards us for commitments to Him, via other believers.
Why Fellowship is Important
- To Complete Our Private Prayer Life. The experience of God starts in personal prayer, but it doesn't end there!
- To Participate in the Nature of God. Fellowship images God's very essence, three persons in one dynamic nature—the "Holy Synergy".
- To Be Members of God's Family. You are closer to the Christian you've never met than to an unbelieving blood relative.
- To Be Members of the Body. Each believer is a unique, indispensable member in Christ's active presence in the world.
- For Synergy. A friend received a vision of individual Christians being like beautiful streams flowing into a lake, providing swans, turtles, ducks—a gathering place which was even more beautiful.
- For Practical Mutual Support. "Two are better than one. If one should fall the other can pick him up... A cord of three strands is not easily broken." Ecc 4:9-12.
- For Real Growth. Christian relationships should be close enough for strong support and at the same time honestly challenging.
- To Experience Power. I was initially amazed at how rarely Christians experienced the gift of tongues without fellowship, and later discovered the gifts are given to build Christianity.
- To Bear Fruit. As the saying goes, sometimes "God withholds fruits if we never lay down roots."
- To Safeguard Against Selfishness. Accountability is unnatural, yet key. One of the strongest Methodist societies grew from 10 people committing to weekly meet and confess sins to each another (which is not the modern method!)
- To Provide a Place to Serve. Often we are comfortable loving the abstraction of "humanity" rather than actual people in our lives. Fellowships help us love Christ present in specific people, with specific names and faces.
- For Protection From the Enemy. In war the first move is to eliminate communications. In the greater, spiritual war Satan does the same; working to isolate Christians.
- For Power Against the Enemy. Many resist evil, but mistakenly fight alone. It's better to enlist in God's army rather than try to be Batman for God!
- For Effective Evangelization. The most striking aspect of early Christianity to outsiders was not primarily physical miracles, but the miracle of unity. Observers commented, "See how they love each other!"
- To Live the Larger Story. What would change if you thought of your personal salvation as a subplot in the larger story of God building his Kingdom on earth?
- It's a Key Way God Loves Us. It's
just a great way to experience a lot of joy that God wants for us.