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I began this series over a year ago after I discovered some clear scriptures [1] that we are invited into fellowship with God.  I felt the Holy Spirit gave me the basic bullet points of the overall series,[2] but He let me sit on this one for a long time as I meditated on it, searched the scriptures and sought to understand what He meant by “God demands fellowship.”  I offer to you some of my thoughts on this and may the Holy Spirit bring light and discernment to your hearts.

At first I was a bit put off by the word “Demand.” It doesn’t seem to fit with a message focused on intimacy with God.  Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s appropriate because the demands of God are paramount to our fellowship with Him.  The word ‘demand’ carries with it the following meanings:[3]

A clear and firm request that is difficult to ignore or deny.
An urgent requirement for time, resources or action.
A formal request that must be complied with by law.

I am convinced that fellowship with God is a requirement that is urgent, cannot be ignored and must be complied with if we are to become who He has called us to be.

The demand of God upon the human heart that we would be in fellowship with Him is found in the first commandment:  “You shall love the LORD your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole strength.” [4]  Choosing to love God first, foremost and with everything that we are – wholehearted love – is what He considers both the purpose of and the result of fellowship.  Love of God and fellowship with Him cannot be separated. To be in relationship with the God who created all things – who created us to be in fellowship with him – is to be in the place of this ever increasing love.  This is not love as defined by the poets or philosophers of this age – rather this is love as defined by who God is because He is Love.

We can see this demonstrated in the life of Mary of Bethany. Mary set aside the secondary things to focus on what was most important – sitting at the feet of Jesus – gazing on Him, reveling in His presence, communing with Him.  When challenged about her apparent disregard for the priorities of the day, Jesus responded to her critics that she had chosen the One Thing that was important and this would not be taken from her.[5]

God created us for fellowship and He requires a communing heart of those who will bear the name of His Son. How else can we walk worthy of Him who called us if we don’t walk in relationship with the Love we are called to embrace? True fellowship with God cannot occur without hearts that pursue the first commandment.  If we attempt to live our Christian life with any other priority, our desire to walk in fellowship because of love will begin to dim and we will begin to live our Christianity in an effort of works or simply wander off the path into conformity with the world.  Too often in my life, I find myself focusing on what I am doing for God rather than focusing my heart on God Himself.  Whenever I turn my eyes to the things I should do for God out of duty, my heart so easily becomes dull towards Him and I begin trying to improve my standing with Him through my good efforts. Eventually, in my dullness I lose sight of Love and as I become more unfulfilled, I can begin to find other things in life to feed my soul.

The Church of Ephesus had a significant ministry; the light of their lamp stand impacted the entire region of Asian minor and continued to do so for decades. Yet even through all the Ephesian church had experienced and accomplished they were sliding towards a Master mentality and away from their identity as the Bride of Jesus.  They were becoming slaves to their methods and mechanics and forgetting their place as lovers of Jesus.

His demand for fellowship is the demand for our love; the demand that our love for Him be the absolute primary focus of our lives. If we would come into fellowship with God, we must do so with the desire for Him to be our first love.  The Church of Ephesus was commended for all the good things they accomplished, but their lack of walking with Him as their first love threatened their place as a Lamp Stand Church.  If they did not return to their first love and the place of fellowship that it engendered, they would lose what they had.[6]

As believers, God requires fellowship because it is out of this very fellowship that we become who He has created us to be: lovers of God.  If we ignore this fellowship and attempt to walk out our Christian life without it, we wander from the very reason we have been born, saved and reconciled.  Without a relentless pursuit of this divine fellowship, we risk stumbling through our lives being blown about from teaching to teaching,[7] bounced about from disappointment to disappointment, always looking for the next ‘great’ move of God hoping that it will somehow move us out of our current condition. For some we become stagnant, losing joy, losing love, whitewashed tombs full of dead man’s bones.[8] For others, we simply give up and give in to the world, the flesh and the devil, completely out of step with what we are created for.[9]

When we fellowship with God, we come to know Him better.  To know Him better is to grow in His Love.  To grow in Love draws us into deeper fellowship with Him.  God demands our fellowship because He knows that in fellowship with Him, we will learn to walk in the wholehearted love He has created us for.  Being in fellowship with Him is to be in that place where He can infuse our hearts with Himself and thus our hearts are filled with the Love that defines who He is.  Wholehearted Love moving us to become wholehearted lovers of God!

 


1 See Fellowship with God!
2 See Critical Fellowship
3 According to Microsoft Encarta 2003
4 Deut 6:5; Mark 12:30
5 Luke 10:39f
6 Rev 2:1f
7 Eph 4:14
8 Matt 23:27
9 IJn 2:15-16; 2Tim 2:22; 1Jn 3:8

 

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