Religion, Relationship, or Fellowship?
I have heard it said, and said it myself, that the difference between Christianity and other religions is that Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship. Recently I have come to understand that it is even more than a relationship; it is fellowship. I get this from 1Corinthians 1:9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. The creator of the world, the one who hung the stars in the sky, has called us into fellowship with Himself through Jesus Christ. Now, what does this look like?
From Merriam-Webster online dictionary:
: the belief in a god or in a group of gods
: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods
: an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group
: the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other…
: a friendly relationship among people
: the relationship of people who share interests or feelings
At the lowest level, Christianity is in fact a religion because it is a belief in “a” God, it is organized, it does have ceremonies and rules, and it is very important to Christians. But, that is not the full measure of Christianity nor is it God’s desire for us.
Christianity is also a relationship because it is about how God behaves towards and deal with us, and vice versa. Even though this does imply interaction and communication, it still is not the full measure of what God desires.
I believe the full measure of Christianity, the abundant life that Jesus promised us is not found in religion or relationship, but in the fellowship that God specifically identifies as His desire for us in 1 Cor 1:9.
This means interacting with the creator of the universe, the sustainer of life, in a way that focuses on His feelings and interests and being concerned about what He is concerned about. But how do we know what those things are? I looked through the scriptures and here are a few things that Father is concerned about:
Ps 96:2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
Mt 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:2 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Rev 7: 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God…
Obviously there are many things that the Father is interested in and concerned about, but I believe these 4 items are high on His list (if that is possible). He is concerned about people praising Him and declaring His glory among the nations, He is concerned about people loving Him, He is concerned about people repenting, and He is concerned about everyone worshiping Him.
Now, because God has called us into fellowship with Him, and because fellowship means common interests, how would you rate your fellowship? Ask yourself this question; are you interested in the same things your Creator is interested in, and if not, why not?
My goal in writing this is to reveal the fullness of what Christ died for you to have. Not just a religion, not just a relationship, but a full fellowship with God the Father. I believe this fellowship is only completely realized when we realign our concerns and interests with His. Then we will truly experience life to the full through the fellowship that God has called us into.
May the Holy Spirit reveal this to you so that you can embrace it.