Just Do It! [My Personal Journey in Fellowship]
I’m curious. Does anyone else have this “problem”? You are studying a biblical issue in order to prepare to teach or understand it more deeply and, as you study, the Lord begins to funnel everything in your life towards you living it versus just knowing it? Sound familiar? Mind you, I am not complaining, but I stand amazed at the faithfulness of my God to do His transforming work in my life. He simply does not leave me alone. And I am ok with that.
P4C this year
As many of you may know, the P4C Summit this year is focusing on the issue of the church – the scriptural basis for it and the implications it has for our lives. Always, when we (V4L) decide on a theme for a conference, I begin my regular mode of operation – spending significant time in the word studying the topic. I also couple this with reading what other biblical scholars have to say. However, something begins to take place in my life as I do. The Spirit, quite methodically and with great precision, begins to shape everything in my life around what I am learning. I suddenly realize, “Wow, God is really doing a work in my life in this area. How cool is that?”
Living it versus just knowing it
Upon reflection, God has been working in my heart in a concentrated way regarding the church for the last couple of years. I have always believed the local church was foundationally biblical and of upmost importance. However, knowing it is one thing, living it is a completely different thing altogether. Over the last couple of years, I have come to realize that in order to apply the biblical implications of the local church, you have to take the initiative. Though fellowship with believers should be an organic process, it will not happen by osmoses. It takes time. You have to initiate relationships and, once initiated, they have to be cultivated like you would cultivate a garden. When they flourish, they will bring forth fruit.
Invest in the local body
True fellowship needs to be communal. Do not be constantly looking for fellowship somewhere outside of your community. Sure, you may have friends around the globe; however, these friends will not be able to engage with you on a daily or weekly basis. Sometimes you may go years and never see friends who are elsewhere. But those in your local body, if the relationships are intentionally cultivated, will know you. They will know your weaknesses and your strengths. They will be able to encourage or rebuke you, if necessary.
By God’s grace
By God’s grace, this is what I have done and continue to do in my own local body of believers. I can testify that it has been life changing. It has taken investment of time and vulnerability on my part, but the fellowship that I have gained is invaluable. I am being built up in my relationship with Christ. I am not the same person I was when I started. I have brothers who hold me accountable and pastors who preach the word. I know good churches are hard to find, but make sure that your preconceived ideas of what the church should be are not getting in the way. I urge you to pursue it. If you are in a good church where the word is preached but the fellowship is lacking, you be the one who starts the Bible study. You be the one who takes people out to coffee and spends time getting to know them. You be the one who decides I am going to just do it! You will not be sorry you did.