1 Corinthians 1:9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
For once I really like the NIV turn of phrase. It’s not a difference in translation, but the sentence structure puts the emphasis on the faithfulness of God, and that’s a very good thing. The rest of the verse is also very important. We tend to think of a “calling” as an occupation, particularly in the area of “full-time Christian service.” However, our fundamental calling is into fellowship with Christ, and that applies to every believer. You don’t have to go to seminary to answer that call, either! John and Charles Wesley’s mother had so many children that in order to have time with the Lord she would flip her apron over her head, almost like a tent, and her children knew she wasn’t to be bothered at that time. We too have myriad distractions, so we need to ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom in how to maintain fellowship. The Toronto Revival had as a feature “soaking” in God’s presence, and that is very much an expression of fellowship with Him. I recently read Preparing for the Glory, by John and Carol Arnott, who shepherded that move of God. Rather than simply recounting what happened, they touch on the specific principles they learned through it, and what they portend for the Church going forward. They point out that when we are in love, we want more than anything to spend time with our beloved, and “soaking” is a way to be mindful about doing that. After all, when God has called us into fellowship with His Son, as this verse says, we had better make that a priority. Anything works better when used as designed, and we were designed for fellowship with our Creator!
This is something I have learned in many ways over the years, both from times of fellowship and from times when I had very little fellowship with God. Many years ago I highlighted something David said. “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.” (Psalm 27:8) That agrees completely with another famous line from the Psalms: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1) People have sought fellowship with God since the Garden of Eden, because that’s how He made us! However, I have also learned the reality of what we do that breaks that fellowship. Of course unrepented sin does it, but Paul speaks of “quenching” (1 Thessalonians 5:19) and “grieving” the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:30) Sin is involved there, but sometimes it is as seemingly benign as shifting priorities. I’ve got to make and keep fellowship with my Lord my first priority! I couldn’t begin to count all the different ways the devil tries to interfere with that, and I shouldn’t try. Rather, I need to focus on my Lord, who calls me into fellowship with Himself. (Matthew 6:33)
Father, thank You for this reminder. It’s definitely something I need to share from the pulpit! Help me keep it in focus to practice it consistently, so that I may avoid the traps of the enemy and walk in all that You intend for me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!