As a youngster growing up in West Virginia it was during those long hot summer months our family often took off to go fishing on the bank of New River. I can remember my dad driving the 12 or so miles on the winding and snake like road to Fayette Station. Once there we would walk along the railroad tracks for approximately one mile before reaching the path that would take us down to the river. After climbing over huge rocks, as big as houses, we finally arrived at our destination where we would spend all day fishing. Many times you could see fish jumping out of the water and then plunging back in. I can remember so vividly on one occasion when a very big catfish leaped out of the water and hung in the air for such a long time before splashing back into the water. It is common knowledge that a fish needs water in order to survive just as much as we need air to survive. If the fish had landed on the bank of the river it would have suffocated and died. There are also certain parallels that exist in a person’s spiritual life.
As believers in Christ, we are “at home” when we are in fellowship with God, attending church services, having devotions and enjoying fellowship with other believers. As long as we maintain that closeness, we can thrive spiritually. However, if we get out of our environment, stay home or frequent places dominated by our powerful spiritual foe, and enjoy the fellowship of the world rather than with our brothers and sisters in the Lord, we most certainly will be in danger of suffocating. We are told in Romans 12 not to be conformed to this world. My brethren, we can’t have fellowship with darkness and survive. If you have been saved by the blood of Christ, I put before you some very important questions for consideration:
(1) Are you neglecting going to church?
(2) Are you neglecting a quiet time with God through devotions!
(3) Are you isolating yourself from your Christian friends?
(4) Do you feel at home in places under the control of the Prince of this World?
(5) Are you beginning to suffocate spiritually? If so, then its time you got back on the right path to where you really belong. My fellow brethren, don’t be like a fish out of water!
If we are going to be fit in our faith, we need one another. In Hebrews we read, “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).The Scriptures tell us that “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17). Thus, through contact with other believers, our own rough edges can be smoothed over; we can learn patience, tolerance, kindness, and love. We can be exposed to various points of view, to different feelings and values. We can grow in our understanding of God, the Bible, and the Christian way of life by learning how God works in others’ lives.
Through fellowship we can be educated, encouraged, inspired and exhorted. Every meeting with brothers and sisters in the Lord can be a real learning and growing experience! However, if we neglect Christian fellowship, as the manner of some is, we tend to stagnate and stand still spiritually; we get into ruts and attitudes that are a far cry from what God wants. Fellowship should add a tremendous element of joy to our lives as it did for the early Christians. Acts 2:46, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts …” God created us as social creatures with an innate need to have relationships with others. We can fulfill this need through uplifting contact with other believers.
(1) Are you involved in a local church congregation?
(2) Do you attend a small group for Bible study?
(3) Do you have a friend with whom you can bare your soul and pray?
(4) Do you need to broaden your opportunities for fellowship?
If we’re going to be spiritually fit, we need all the encouragement and support we can get. The apostle John wrote this, “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” (1 John 1:3).
We must live in the world, but we must never let the world live in us.