We need community. Fellowship, girlfriends, mentors, accountability partners, sisters. However you identify your healthy social life, you need it. When hearing the term “real fellowship” two things come to mind: encouragement and accountability.
When I originally started praying about this concept of real fellowship, I thought of encouragement and accountability as two separate benefits (or responsibilities perhaps!). I realized after studying more, that really they go so hand-in-hand that I am not sure you should have one without the other. Yes, don’t miss hear me, you can have one without the other, but I don’t believe you should. Doesn’t genuine encouragement come from someone who regularly lifts you up in prayer? One who eagerly wants to have play dates with you because they want to know you better? Well, by knowing you better and going through life with you, you will develop an accountability partner. Or at least I hope you strive to. This is a glimpse at real fellowship, real community.
Are you with me? Let’s go a bit deeper.
Do you have a close group of friends that will call your bluff? Are there women you see on a regular basis that know you well enough to know that you are swimming dangerously far out into the ocean, ready to get sucked down by the current? Perhaps you have a friend who has told you something she has done, an awful act of unfaithfulness toward her husband and she begs you not to tell anyone. Is there someone in your life that knows everything? All your dirty little secrets yet they still love you and look at you with non-judging eyes?
If any of those questions struck a chord with you, even one, you understand the blessing that you have in community. Or perhaps you realized that when looking at those questions you are lacking community? Let me take a moment and address the dire importance of fellowship: if you don’t keep people near you, not solely online, actual real people right there in front of you, you will not have someone to truly hold you accountable. And, Sweet Reader, you will not be able to hold them accountable and love them back to the Lord when necessary either.
“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” ~James 5:19-20
What I notice, right here in front of my face is the wording, “if anyone among you wanders from the truth.” What does this mean to me? Anyone can wander. Anyone can become detached and unconnected from a truth they held so dear to them.
Note: James did not say, “If someone who has been struggling to study their Bible wanders…” or, “If someone who isn’t married to a pastor wanders…” or even, “If someone who does not regularly attend church wanders from the truth…” No, James said anyone – the missionary, the Bible study leader, your treasured author of your beloved parenting book. Anyone.
Say it with me please: “Anyone can wander from the truth!”
Now let’s chat about what you can do with this head knowledge. How, you ask? By surrounding yourself with God-fearing, encouraging, loving, like-minded people. Ones that would be willing to bring you back to the truth. Oh, Sweetie, I wish it weren’t so, but you could stray. And I pray fervently that you would have someone nearby that would say to you “No! What you are doing is just not right! I know this isn’t going to be a good conversation but we have to talk about this. Please sit down with me so I can pray for you!”
And, Lord willing, if it isn’t you, I ask that you would be ready to come in and help another sister in Christ. I pray that you will arm yourself with wisdom and understanding so you can keep her from straying so far from the truth that you know she once had.
At Butterfly Ministries we desire to teach you, encourage you, grow you in the Word, and in lots of other ways, just share some fun or inspirational thoughts with you. We want to provide you with a community here online. But friend, you cannot allow this to comfort you out of the need for real fellowship. The face-to-face cannot be replaced.
Real fellowship is far more than an acquaintance you see in the lobby each Sunday at church. It is digging in, getting to know you and praying for you. Yes, we will have that here at our blogs, but we really want to encourage you to find, grow, and establish that out there, beyond this computer screen! The internet is a valuable tool. It connects us in ways we had never dreamed possible. But it doesn’t connect us to the genuine realness that we experience with a face-to-face luncheon with friends; or a mom’s night out with ladies from your church; sharing stories, asking questions and holding accountable to the truth you all live your life for.
Dear sister in Christ, we urge you to seek out relationships with those around you. Seek out real, true, genuine fellowship with other believers. We know it’s hard with toddlers running around. We get it. But we have to try, don’t we? So, until the day we see each other face-to-face, whether here on earth or praising our Lord in Heaven, thank you sister, for your contribution toward Real Fellowship. We are here for one another and we will encourage and hold accountable those around us. We are sisters.
So, are you in?
This post is shared at Faith-Filled Fridays.