In the fast paced world that we live relationships are often times reduced to that of liking each other’s posts on Facebook and being friends through electronic media and we are suffering the consequences of not truly being in relationship with each other. Facebook and social media are not the problem though, we are. This is a problem for Christians and non-Christians alike. We were created for deep and meaningful fellowship and when we do not have it there is a void in our soul. Jesus knew of this great need and that we would need help in joining together, so while seated in fellowship with His disciples during the Passover meal He prayed this to the Father.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!
“O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”
Jesus experienced such perfect unity with the Father that he did nothing unless he saw that the Father was already doing it (John 5:19) and it was this unity that He prayed that all believers would possess. It is our unity in Christ and in one another that allows us to be one with the Father and that gives us our strength. Jesus also said in John 5:19 that He can do nothing by himself. In other words he relied fully upon the Father in all things.
Jesus is our example of how we should live and his prayer for unity among us will give us strength if we will only embrace it. This unity happens by walking through life with one another, not by liking photos or posts that others make. It requires us to walk along the side of one another, it requires us to fellowship with one another, and it requires that we make sacrifices for one another. The believers of the early church understood this concept and demonstrated it for us as an example of how we are strengthened when we are united.
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
There is a powerful bond that happens when we join together in true fellowship and worship with one another, but when we do not we are weak and open ourselves up to being influenced by Satan. 2 Corinthians 6:12-15 states, “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?”
We need one another to strengthen each other; “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17). It also allows us to be in the presence of the Father when we are among fellow believers (Matthew 18:20). It allows the Spirit to strengthen us and to speak through us more readily than when we are alone and it also gives us more strength against the attacks of the enemy. We must stand united with one another in all things to strengthen each other, to protect each other, and to encourage one another.
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
To bear one another’s burdens means that we should literally help them carry their burdens which means that we must play an active role in their life. Imagine for a second that you had to move from your house and the only way that you could get your stuff moved from one house to another was by carrying it there. Let’s also say you had to move every last thing that you owned and that you could leave nothing behind. If you had to do this yourself the task itself would seem insurmountable and the burden would be so great that there would be some things that you would wind up dragging to your new place inch by inch because you could not leave them. Now imagine if you had one or two people to help you. How much lighter would your burden be? If you had ten people who were around you to help you that burden would be even less.
Sin and trials place a similar burden on our lives and when we do not have others around us our situation can quickly seem hopeless. Or worse yet, if we have people around us telling us that we cannot do it then our situation will become worse because of the power of suggestion. We need one another to help us bear the burdens of life and to speak life into us rather then toxic opinions that we receive from the world. We need people to stand beside us and encourage us to fight for our marriages and to speak against the strongholds that the enemy has placed on our lives.
In America there is one divorce that occurs roughly every 36 seconds, someone commits suicide every 12.3 minutes, and roughly 14% of Americans live below the poverty line. These are only a few of the struggles that people face every day. We need one another to help us carry the burden through life. We need to stand by one another to help encourage each other. Roughly 18% of the population in America is suffering from some form of anxiety or another and 6.7% are suffering from depression, but this does not need to be the case. Certainly there are a myriad of reasons for anxiety and depression, but imagine how much lower this number could be if we simply followed God’s Word and if we were in fellowship with one another.
We all have people around us who are going through a heap of junk, many of which feel like they are completely alone and dragging their possessions inch by inch across the pavement. There are people facing divorce, death, sickness, drug addiction, money problems, homelessness, and much more not to mention the sins that we are prone to everyday. If these people do not have others around them to help carry their burden they will feel helpless in life and will eventually take drastic measures to try to get out of their situation.
Facebook is a great tool for sharing what is happening in your life, but most people do not really share the things that they are going through on Facebook until things have become dire. We need to be involved in one another’s lives, because we cannot live a full life effectively and be alone. Being busy is not an excuse, because you can always change your situation to become less busy. You alone have caused yourself to be busy. Inability to help because of not being trained is not an excuse because anyone can be a friend and search through Scripture with one another. If you do not like people then you need to change your attitude and if people do not like you then you need to examine who you are and change your attitude.
We make excuses for not having people in our lives and for not being involved in the lives of those around us, but they are only excuses. If we set our minds on being in fellowship then we will be and if we do not set our minds on being in fellowship then we will not be. We cannot do the things that God is asking us to do unless we actually put effort toward doing these things. We cannot expect that people will simply come into our lives because we are Christians. We need to prayerfully consider what God says about fellowship, we need to prayerfully consider who it is that God desires for us to be in fellowship with, and then we must act.
God’s desire is for us to live in unity with one another and to be involved in each other’s lives in a manner that we are able to speak into each other’s lives and to stand beside one another in times of need. We will be blessed if we will follow God’s Word and if we will love others as God has commanded us to love. If you are already good at this then I commend you and I urge you to pray to see if there is someone else in your life that God would like you to bring into fellowship. We were not created to live life in a selfish manner we were created to serve and to be selfless. We were created to love and share the light that God has placed within us.
I pray that God will ignite our hearts and give us a great desire to stand firm with one another and to join in fellowship as Jesus prayed for us so that we can show the world what it is that God has to offer and that He is real! In Jesus’ name. Amen.