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God designed and intended for us to be in relationship. In fact, the only thing He claimed was "not good" in His creation as told in Genesis 1&2 was that it was not good for man to be alone - so He created a partner for him. (Gen.2:18) God designed us to be relational beings. He made us in His image and He Himself is a relational being. We, (humanity) through the fall of man, have had our vital relationships broken and damaged. An important part of God's agenda is to bring us back into wholeness relationally.
In fact, an integral part of God's healing and redemption of mankind from his fall into sin is a restoration of true and proper relationship - with God and with one another. Scripture tells us a lot about how we should relate to one another. In fact, the fruit of the Spirit predominately centers around relational issues; meaning God is wanting to assist us in rightly relating to one another.
In his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul wrote:
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Eph. 2:19-22)
God Wants Us "Built Together"
No one is fully equipped to survive much less thrive by themselves. Our own weaknesses, blind spots, limited capabilities and lack of experience point to one thing -interdependence. In fact, it is in relationship and fellowship that we find a release of God's life in our midst.
God designed us for "Fellowship" and "Fellowship" is a part of Gods very nature.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." (John 1:1-2)
This short section of Scripture gives us an incredible insight into the
nature and pre-existence of our Creator before the beginning of time.
are some important insights we can gain from this Scripture as we look
closely at it. Here we see one of the most obvious declarations of the
of Jesus as the pre-incarnate Word, pre-existent with the Father and
later manifest in the flesh as declared in the following vs. 14:
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..."
But one of the most exciting realities comes from a deeper look at the phrase in verse 1 in the original Greek text. "And the Word was with God." This simple word "with" takes on a much deeper significance when looked at in the original language which is "pros", literally meaning "to" or "toward". So Jesus and the Father were "to" or "toward" one another throughout eternity past even before the creation of the existing universe.
So what does that mean? It means that the "Trinity" of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, was in the delight of eternal fellowship before time began. In other words, God, by His very nature is a fellowshipping God. He delights in fellowshipping within Himself and wants to fellowship with us as well.
We see how much God delighted in His Son from scriptures where He is
called "the Son of His love" (Col.1:13) (NKJ) or "My beloved Son in Whom
I am well pleased." (Matt. 3:17) So we see that God by His very nature, is
fellowshipping God. Through out eternity He has delighted in
within His triune Self and now wants to include us in the fellowship the
Father has with the Son. But it is most amazing how much He also wants
that same fellowship with us as His creation. Jesus prayed in John 17:21,
That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in us.
The apostle carried this theme into his epistle in 1 John 1:3 where he says, "that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said it again in Rev. 3:20;
Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine (commune, fellowship) with him, and he with Me.
Now let's look at some other parts of Jesus' prayer in John 17.
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3)
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one. (John 17:22)
I believe God delights in fellowshipping with us more than we would ever know. Furthermore, it is in the midst of the beauty and delight of this fellowship with God, that we find the true source of life.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4)
It is here that we find fullness of joy, and love that is eternal. It is in the process of loving and fellowshipping with God, we find life springing up afresh in our souls.
The place of fellowship is the place of life. But God has called us not only into fellowship with Him, but also into fellowship with one another. And in as much as we experience fresh life through fellowship in His Spirit, we share that life to others as we enjoy our fellowship with one another.
It is important to understand that the source of our unity and fellowship
is in Him. Jesus prayed to the Father,
I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, John 17:23 (NKJ)
This implies we can participate in the life of Jesus as he participates in the life of His Father; we can experience union with the life and eternal glory of Jesus, as He is united with the life and glory of His Father. That is, Jesus abiding in us as the Father abides in Him; experiencing fellowship with Jesus to the same degree that He has fellowshipped with the Father through out eternity. But then, that is also the nature of our unity and fellowship with one another. When we think of joyful, loving, life producing, abundant fellowship with God, that is what He wants us to, in turn, experience with one another.
Jesus gave this commandment,
That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (John.13:34) (NKJ)
He also said,
.. inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.(Matt.25:40)
As we love one another, we love Him. As we enjoy one another, we enjoy Him. In caring for each other, we care for Him. In opening our hearts and lives to one another, we invite His presence. In pouring our lives out for one another, we pour out our expression of His love back to Him.
Jesus dwells in His church, and He expresses Himself through His church. As we fellowship with each other, we quietly and almost unnoticeably come in contact with Him. Just as we have entered into fellowship with Him, we continue to experience Him and spread the experience of Him to our other brothers and sisters in Christ.
...If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. (1 John 4:12)
The synergism of Relationship
Out of that fellowship and the joy of being rightly related to God and one another, comes a degree of effectiveness in life and ministry that we would not have, otherwise. "Synergism" is a term that means the effect of the parts is multiplied when in union, compared to the effect of the individual parts alone.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. (Ecc. 4:9,10)
God is a relational God and He wants us to be rightly related to one another for the sake of the life we experience, as well as the effectiveness we will experience when we labor together for the furtherance of His will and purposes on the earth.