Monday, 11 November 2013

Thoughts on fellowship (5)

No doubt, the secret energy that maintained the desire for fellowship was the secret inner workings of the Holy Spirit. But this secret energy revealed itself in particular fruits of the Spirit, in particular the fruits of joy and sincerity.

If there is one mark that is not as strong as it should be, it is the experience of great joy. There are many reasons suggested for this – our stoical Britishness, our reserved Highland attitude, our Calvinistic sobriety. Personally I think such suggestions are nonsense. The reason why our joy is small is because we spend little time in fellowship with God. Even at an elementary level, I feel happier when I spend more time reading the Bible.

There is a definite connection between fellowship and joy. After spending some time in the presence of God, the psalmist declared: ‘You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound’ (Ps. 4:7). Isaiah assures us that it is possible that we can ‘With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation’ (Isa. 12:3). The reason why the apostle John composed his letter concerned the joy of his readers: ‘And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete’ (1 John 1:4). We meet with God, become joyful, receive spiritual energy to meet with God’s people, and the cycle continues.

Sincerity is also very important in maintaining fellowship. God does not meet with a two-faced person. He hates pretence, but he responds to genuineness and faithfulness. We cannot deceive God. In order to maintain fellowship with the Lord and one another, we have to be marked by heart honesty and sincerity. The combination of joy and sincerity functions like a spiritual engine enabling us to have fellowship with God and one another.

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