Thursday, May 01, 2008

Christian fellowship

"The paradox of Christianity is that self-fulfillment comes through self-denial. The joys of Christian fellowship are not exhausted when we find someone we like. Relationships have a much deeper basis than mutual enjoyment.

In his first epistle, the apostle John teaches that Christian fellowship does not involve merely lateral relationships between people, but also includes fellowship with the Father and the Son (1 John 1:3). We speak of fellowship with Christ, but too often the profound implications of that concept are lost in our desire to feel comfortable with other people.

We must catch the idea that time spent with one another can somehow enrich our relationship with Christ, in much the same way two mature children feel closer to their parents after discussing with each other how much their parents mean to them. Relationships with one another can be enjoyable and fulfilling - and they should be. But the basis of our fellowship is our shared life in Christ. Relationships must be regarded as opportunities to promote a fuller appreciation of Christ through mirroring Christ to one another, treating each other as valuable bearers of the image of God, and accepting one another in spite of shortcomings. Too often we view relationships as nothing more than a chance to feel comfortable and to experience a measure of fulfillment. "

- Larry Crabb with Dan Allender, Encouragement: The Key to Caring, pp.43-44

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