Satan's attacks can come from anywhere, at any time. They come so suddenly sometimes it can be challenging to take the hit and remain standing, and especially difficult to be unmoved by his attacks of doubt and temptation. He is a ruthless enemy, but fortunately for us we have a beautiful gift called Salvation that frees us from Satan's power. When we give ourselves over to Christ and accept His salvation we then commit to intentionally living as Christ better and better every day. Through Scripture we learn so much about how to do this, and one essential responsibility we have to help hold us accountable to living as Christ is fellowship with other Christians.
That is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. Romans 1:12
Sometimes Satan will penetrate our hearts and breed seeds of doubt and malice within us that lead us away from being an example of Christ, and sometimes we wander away from believers in our hearts and often in our lives entirely. When we wander from God's people we are more likely to wander from God Himself.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Christ sets a clear example of how to be in relationship with fellow believers as well as how to hold one another accountable to our shared mission and relationship. Christ teaches that through our faith we should produce fruit in our lives that brings us and others closer to God and strengthens our faith in Him. To bear good fruit we must be filled with love for all people and above all for God, but not just any love - the true meaning of love and how we are called to love according to God.
' Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. ' 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:10
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10
Look through social media at any given moment and you will be overwhelmed with harsh words and opinions about how we should worship, how to fellowship, theological hotpoints, and overall toxic behavior from Christians to other Christians. We’re living in a time where Christians are tearing each other apart rather than building each other up, and it leaves me thinking no wonder our world feels so dark and broken - people who have entrusted themselves to the care and guidance of Christ and His power that defeated sin are giving power back to sin. Their hearts are becoming hardened and they are drifting from the true power of salvation, and toward rejection of Christ Himself.
'But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. ' Hebrews 3:13-14
In the book of Hebrews Christians are reminded of the importance of clinging to Christ and His example, as well as His power over sin. As we move forward in this suffering world it is harder and harder to remember that in order to cling to Christ and not reject Him and His power in our lives we must have healthy fellowship on a regular basis. This is an often sidelined responsibility in the daily life of a Christian, and when we reject or abuse fellowship with Christians we are rejecting Christ as well.
That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:3
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
Jesus sets the example for us. He fellowshipped with His followers daily. He taught them, loved them, was patient with them, and Jesus approached different people in unique ways that spoke to them and drew them near to Him and the Father. When questions were asked, He didn’t scream at them, point fingers, call names, act cruelly, or even try to force people to believe Him - even in His anger, He acted righteously and justly, and His anger was always as a reaction to sin. He calls on us to treat one another in the same manner, encouraging each other and building one another up. We are called to stir fellow followers up into love and good works, not division and toxicity. We are taught to have fruitful conversations, not those that stir up strife.
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. Ephesians 5:11
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Proverbs 29:11
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, Matthew 12:36
To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:2
Throughout our relationship with Christ, we should live with every intention of growing in our faith, learning more about Christ and the example He sets for us and applying it every day. The Word of God is our instruction manual and from it we should be transformed daily. Throughout His Word we see constant examples and lessons of how to treat our Christ family, bearing with one another in all things, and we learn how Christ calls on us to encourage each other and hold one another accountable with and to love, gentleness, and patience. We need to seek His example more deeply and check ourselves against the example of Christ daily to ensure we are ourselves living by His example as well as encouraging others to do likewise.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 1 Peter 3:8
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10
Grow closer in relationship with God's people as you grow closer in example to His Son. Don't fall into the trap Satan has set for you, causing your heart to become hard and your treatment of your Christ family to be damaging. Keep your heart burning for Christ, yearning to learn more every day, and seek out His love, example, and wisdom in your relationships with His people.