Show my marriage certificate, my kids’ birth certificates. I have proof that my family are my family!
Some people are related but they don’t speak to each other.
Some are related but they don’t like each other and even avoid each other.
They might have a birth or marriage certificate to prove that they are related – they have a relationship – but they don’t have fellowship with each other.
As Christians we have a relationship with God. He is our Father and we are his children. But just because we have a relationship with him [God] doesn’t mean we fellowship with Him.
Fellowship with God is intimate. It’s more than just attending church on Sunday. It’s about spending time alone with God. Jesus is our model here.
John 14:24. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
Our prayer – like Jesus’ prayer – is not constant talking. It’s also listening for God’s words.
The disciples liked to just “be with Jesus” (Mark 3:13-15). They liked to just hang out with Him. In the same way, we should enjoy just ‘being with the Holy Spirit’, just being in His presence.
Ephesians 2:18. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
We all have access to the Father through the Spirit. It is the Spirit which brings us into God’s presence. It is the work of the Holy Spirit that makes our fellowship with the Father real.
When things go bad in our lives it’s not because we lose our relationship with God. The good news is that our relationship with God can’t be broken. But when things go bad it’s often because we have no time for fellowship with Him – no time for fellowship through the Word, fellowship in prayer, in waiting on God, in talking to God, in listening to God.
When we run around all day, we become weak, we have less faith, less grace and more stress. Being with Jesus, being in God’s presence, we have peace and joy.
What’s more important, God listening to us, or us listening to God? The answer to this should guide us in our prayers.
Some believe that God no longer speaks to us today through prayer because the Word is now complete and everything we need to hear from God is in the Word. This is a misleading approach to both reading the Bible and to prayer. God calls us individually into ministry. There is nothing in the Bible that says “Mike, go to Japan!” This is the voice of the Holy Spirit. With words of warning, words of guidance, words of encouragement, God still speaks through prayer!
True, the Bible is complete and God does not speak to replace doctrine or communicate on the same level as Scripture, but He does still speak through prayer.
Isaiah 50:4 The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
Isaiah, Samuel, David – were special people who heard the voice of God. But in the NT, Ananias was spoken to to receive Saul, Cornelius was spoken to. Theses were ordinary people. God speaks to ordinary people – to those who listen.
“The listening ear and the instructed tongue come only from times of fellowship with the Lord. It comes when we’re listening, not talking.” Jim Cymbala
I have enjoyed a fresh revelation of God recently. I shared it once before a week or two ago but I’d like to share it again. I believe that most, if not all the problems we face today, personally and socially, stem from the fact that we do not understand how much God loves us. Once we know how much God loves us – not academically but deep in our heart by faith – then we have nothing to worry about. Trust issues with God no longer exist. Deep unspoken concerns about the adequacy of God’s provision in our lives are fully satisfied. And time spent with God becomes a tremendous pleasure and a great source of joy and power for living.
Martin Luther was a sixteenth century priest who initiated the Protestant Reformation. When he started out, he was initially afraid of God because he believed Him to be a holy but angry judge. That’s what legalism teaches. No matter how hard he tried to please God, he failed and felt condemned by God. He lived in guilt. Some of us today experience the same spiritual battles – feeling as though we’re trying to please a harsh God who delights in punishing us when we do wrong.
That’s not who God is. God is a loving Father full of mercy and patience. If only we could know how much God loves us! Without a proper understanding of who God is, intimate fellowship with God is impossible.
Romans 8:15,16. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
As we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we can know that God loves us, not as a cliche but as a reality that colours every part of our lives. We don’t have to be afraid. Our Father God is the gentlest and loving Father anyone could have.
Some believers don’t know this. Some churches don’t know this. If Jesus was standing right there at the door who would jump up and let him in? Some people and churches are too afraid or feel too guilty to let Jesus in. He might change things around too much! He might condemn us! He might start overturning tables and throwing things at us. The Laodicean church in Revelation 3 was like that. Jesus was left outside and had to knock at the door of His own house and ask to be let in!
The remedy is repentance from sin and a Spirit-led knowledge of the love of God.
Anyone who fears making such repentance would do well to remember the story of the prodigal son. After living shamelessly, he returned a humble man but was received with joy and celebration. That reception shows the Father heart of God. He sent His Son to wash away our sins, and now the Spirit has been sent to bring us the Father’s invitation: “Come into my house, sit at my table and eat with me”. (Rev 3:20)
When we know how much God loves us, fellowshipping with Him is such a joy. Can I encourage you to put this to the test this week? Give plenty of time to God this week and enjoy His presence and Word in your life.