“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). I must admit that there have been times when I’ve not wanted to be among the Body of Christ. Fellowship sometimes can range from irritating to outright painful. And the wounds inflicted by fellow believers are of a more poignant sting altogether than that of the world, I’ve learned.
However, more than once God has showed me that my own pride – that subtle, hideous thing that I often suppose I’ve overcome – has been at the root of my friction with other believers. Other times, the wrong has been real and needs confronted. In such cases, I can “go be reconciled to my brother,” and this usually has the effect of deepening relationship bonds, I’ve discovered. If the situation can’t be reconciled, I know I can give it to Him, and pray for the person as a guard for my own soul (Job 42:10). (Of course, none of this is easy. It is easier to write about it).
Recently I blogged about choosing not to take offense, particularly among other believers, and the Enemy’s strategy to divide people, especially those in the church. Here are three reasons why fellowship in a faith-filled, Kingdom-minded church is vital for every believer:
The Body of Christ brings about conviction – being in fellowship sharpens our awareness and brings to light sins and delusions and other subtleties that our flesh would tend to excuse, cover over, or fail to see altogether. Conversely, a failure to remain in fellowship opens wide the door for apostasy (rejecting and ultimately falling away from the truth).
Every son and daughter of God bears the Father’s unique DNA. In fellowship, each believer edifies the Body of Christ with his or her unique gifts, insights, spiritual revelations, and measure of faith. To fail to be in fellowship is to deny the Body of Christ an integral and special blessing.
When the Body comes together, it is like a giant muscle flexing and pushing out the kingdom of darkness. The individual strands play a role, but united together in purpose they can push enormous obstacles out of the way and swiftly pull down Heaven’s resources into desperate, hopeless situations. What joy and adventure and satisfaction is found in this kind of Kingdom work! We’re both the giver and recipient of these outpourings when we’re in fellowship.
Whether suffering from corruption in church leadership, or being riddled by “friendly fire” within a congregation, God is available to inquire in how to proceed when damage has been done. Had I fallen over what has ultimately been used to develop perseverance in me, I’d have missed blessing upon blessing.
When I pause to reflect on how many times I myself may have unintentionally hurt someone else in the Body of Christ, and how much Christ has intentionally forgiven my selfishness, it is easier to give the hurt to the Father, large or small. How we rob ourselves by disconnecting with the Body of Christ! How we rob others. Let us not give up meeting together.