We must draw near.
There are two (2) biblical truths that should motivate believers to live their lives “more fully and abundantly” (John 10:10).
The first truth is that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, presently lives within us. Jesus promised this to those that “believeth on and in Him” (John 14:16-17). The second is that we live continuously in the presence of God (Ps. 139:7). There is never a time nor is there any circumstance in our life where we will find ourselves outside God’s love and purview.
Both truths are “spiritual blessings” gifted to us from our heavenly Father (Eph. 1:3). But even with God’s commitment to be in and among us, we as believers have a responsibility to draw “near to God” (James 4:8) by entering into intentional fellowship with Him. God will not force His presence upon us. God is daily inviting us into the joy of fellowship.
What is Fellowship?
What does “fellowship with God” look like in the life of the believer? Fellowship has been described as the sharing of experiences with likeminded people. However, fellowship with God is much more, for “who has known the mind of God (Romans 11:34)?” Through Jesus Christ, believers are able to “know by experience” God’s heart and mind. Such was the case with the Apostle John. John and the disciples were uniquely privileged to witness, firsthand, the person and works of Christ.
- “That which was heard” were truths that Christ declared concerning the kingdom of God and His offer of eternal life (Luke 4:43; 9:11).
- “That which was seen” included the many miracles of Christ; miracles that would attest to the coming of the promised Messiah (Matt. 11:2-5).
- “That which was looked upon and our hands handled” recounted the disciples’ examination of Christ’s glorified body after the resurrection (John 20:27). All of the disciple’s senses were engaged as Christ manifested (revealed) Himself and the Father.
Get up close and personal!
The disciple’s experience with Christ was not viewed from a distance but “up close and personal”. Since Father and Son were one (John 17:11, 22), the disciples concurrently experienced fellowship with the Father (v. 3). Fellowship is translated as “communion” and “participation in a common life.”
John’s personal witness was an invitation to the early church to participate through a common lifestyle that was centered on relationship—unending communion with God the Father and the Son. Therein is the basis for John’s statement that their “joy may be full” (v.4).
Fellowship with God is a lifestyle.
Though John’s letter was written thousands of years ago, its message is still relevant for today. Fellowship with God begins with a lifestyle that seeks to draw near with faith (Heb. 10:22) and learn of Him (Matt. 11:29).
It includes our living by “that which we have heard”—the truth found in God’s Word and the counsel of the Holy Spirit. It involves our personal witness to “that which we’ve seen”—God’s unconditional love and salvation in exchange for our sin and brokenness (1 John 1:3-4).
Are we experiencing fellowship with God? We must daily ask the Holy Spirit to show us those things that stand in the way of being in fellowship with God and how we can draw closer to Him.