1 John 1:1-4
As Christians, we stay right with God as we continue to pursue intimate fellowship with Him and His people based on His Word. Fellowship refers to a shared experience. To have an intimate relationship with God, we need a shared experience with three key elements: God’s person, God’s people, and God’s precepts.
First, God wants to share His life with our life. He desires to give us a deeper experience of spiritual intimacy. We can sense the closeness of God in a more real way, not merely in an academic or intellectual way. Our fellowship with God is based on the testimonies of the apostles in Scripture through their teaching and their example. We witness the intimate relationship Jesus and His apostles had with one another as Jesus shared His life fully with them. Their stories demonstrate how the only way to keep our relationship right with God is to stay in close fellowship with Him.
Second, we need a shared experience with God’s people. We cannot live this Christian life alone. In fact, we cannot be in fellowship with God if we are not in fellowship with His people. These things are inextricably linked. As we continue to pursue God, we will experience spiritual unity with our fellow believers. Unity bonds us together and makes us stronger. God wants us to bond with His people, and so He commands us to love one another (John 15:12). Through this love, the world will recognize us as disciples of Christ (John 13:35).
Third, we require a shared experience with God’s precepts or guidelines found in His Word. Scripture provides a testimony to have a living experience of our fellowship with God. As we learn from Scripture how to deepen our relationship with God, we will have an enhanced experience of joy. Joy is a settled quality on the inside that transcends circumstances on the outside. The feeling of being pleased with external circumstances is simply happiness. Joy, on the other hand, is a deep and settled sense of God’s reality that gives us inner calm despite the storms of life. If we desire joy, we must pursue an intimate relationship with God at a higher level.
- How do you determine who your close friends are? What intimate details of your life do you share with them that you do not share with other people?
- How does our culture view the difference between happiness and joy? Which one gets priority?
Let’s Get Personal
- What is your current level of fellowship and closeness with God? Do you have a right relationship with Him?
- Where are you lacking in unity with God’s people? When have you missed opportunities to show love to your brothers and sisters in Christ?
- How much time do you spend in Scripture weekly? How well do you know God’s precepts?
Take the Next Step
- What changes will you make immediately to prioritize your spiritual intimacy with God?
- What steps can you take to love God’s people more intentionally in your church and community?
- Want to go deeper? Look at the following passages: John 15:1-16; John 14:7-15; John 17:13; John 17:3; Philippians 3:8-16.
Renew Your Mind
“These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.”
1 John 1:4