The importance of Christian fellowship
If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, we’ve learned that isolation can have disastrous effects on our physical, mental and spiritual health. As social beings, we’re not meant to live solitary lives without the friendship, support and encouragement of others. This is especially true for the believer. While some Christians may insist that they don’t need to be part of a local church or growth group, the fruitful Christian life that God intends for us is deeply rooted in a community of love and encouragement, where believers seek to build each other up in the faith and spur each other onwards in their spiritual walk with the Lord.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
When we look at the accounts of the early church in Scripture, we see the importance they placed on regularly meeting together, even when it could cost them their lives. Despite heavy persecution, the early church thrived in numbers and in influence. That’s in part because they recognized a foundational truth—there is strength in numbers. When we come together in the name of the Lord to edify, pray and encourage one another, our faith is strengthened and our hearts are encouraged to continue to fight the good fight. Every day, we are engaged in a spiritual battle and if we’re honest, we’re all in need of Godly wisdom, prayer and encouragement every single day. While meeting together as a church on Sundays is great, it’s often not enough to help us with all that we may face during the other six days of the week.
That’s why Christian fellowship and discipleship is so powerful. When we become part of a group of like-minded, Spirit-filled believers that are intentional about helping each other grow in their relationship with the Lord, we open up opportunities for the Holy Spirit to work in us, through us and through our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The beauty of the diversity of the body of Christ, is that we all have different life experiences, testimonies and spiritual gifts, so we can learn a lot from one another that can in turn, help us grow in our spiritual maturity and provide a valuable support system for much-needed comfort and encouragement. As people built for relationship, we thrive when we can cultivate genuine, Christ-centered friendships with others who want to see us succeed, who can mentor us in our faith, help us resist temptation, encourage us in difficult times, pick us up when we fall and lovingly correct us if we are going astray. The result produces strong disciples who are equipped and emboldened to live out their faith and attract new disciples into God's Kingdom.
No person is an island onto themselves and while God is certainly the ultimate source of our wisdom, power and strength, He uses others in our life to help us grow along the way. Even as spiritually strong as the apostle Paul was, he still needed Barnabas, the “son of encouragement” to spur him on toward the big things that God had called him to. The truth is, just like Paul, we will encounter persecution, spiritual attacks and trials of all kinds on account of our faith and when we do, we all need a Barnabas to uplift us and remind us of our calling and we are encouraged to do the same for others.
In a world where people are feeling broken, scared and alone, Christian fellowship is needed now more than ever. While the enemy will try everything in his power to divide and isolate us, we must combat his attempts by recognizing the truly wonderful gifts we have available to us through God's church. Like the early Christians, we must make every effort to regularly meet and stay connected to a core group of believers that will compel us to grow in our faith and live fruitful, godly lives that are pleasing to the Lord. When we do, we will undoubtedly recognize the truly wonderful effects Christian fellowship has on our lives.