Monday, February 15, 2010

A Deeper Fellowship

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them" John 17:20-26

Recently I have had a burden for deeper fellowship. I interact with people all the time and have the privilege to talk to a wide variety of people. I have found that it is more comfortable for me to talk to some people more than others and that I tend to want to talk more to those I am comfortable with. This began to bother me . Why am I so uncomfortable talking to certain people in the family of God? I realized that I had decided ahead of time that some people were out of my league. This is to my discredit and I repented to God about it as soon as I realized it. I had allowed my insecurity to hinder me in my fellowship with other believers. Jesus prayed that we would be one as He and the Father are one (v. 22). That makes us a family. We know that the Lord desires us to be in unity, but sometimes the simplest of things can hinder us from having that deeper fellowship.

In the world their are dividing lines that people live by that keep them from ever being included in certain groups. There are those we consider out of our league, or those we consider beneath us and so we feel that we are to stay in the groups we have assigned ourselves to. This is not the way it should be in the body of Christ. The Lord wants to remove those dividing lines and make us "one". Jesus said that He has made the Father known to us and will continue to make Him known so that the Father's love for Him may be in us and that He may be in us (v.26). That says to me that Jesus wants us to have the love of the Father in us, so that we may be one with Him and so that His love may flow from inside of us to other believers and then out to the world. It is our love for one another that shows the world that we are His disciples. "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples" (John 13:35). How can we hope to be affective witnesses to the communities around us when we don't know how to have that deeper fellowship with one another? When because of our insecurities we avoid talking with those that are not in our circle where we are comfortable. God makes it very simple for us, all it takes is just stepping out and shaking hands with or taking a few minutes to chat with those we don't know very well or taking notice of that new face we see in our church. By being intentional to show love in simple ways to those in the body of Christ, we make people feel accepted, giving them a sense of belonging, and drawing us closer together in unity. We model the love of Christ to unbelievers creating in them a thirst for the living water He offers. In the book Better Together by Rick Warren, he asks us a challenging question, "Your love for one another speaks volumes about God's love: How loud is your voice?

Kim Ratcliffe

1 comment:

  1. That is so true Kim! You wrote that beautifully. As believers we are to love others as ourself. How can we say we LOVE someone when we can't even stop to talk to them?