How to Become Addicted to God (Part 2)

By Will Dole

Last month, we examined the things to which the early church was devoted in the book of Acts. We looked at Acts 2:42 regarding the importance of devotion to “the Apostles teaching,” that is, studying the Bible. This week we will look at a second equally important item: fellowship.
Since this may not be an extremely familiar word to us in our 21st century mind—outside of a book by J.R.R. Tolkien—it would serve us well to define it before proceeding. Let’s use its very basic meaning: joining with someone in a common endeavor, goal or plight. Paul uses it this way in 1 Corinthians 1:9 when he refers to God calling us into fellowship with Christ. Because Christ has freed us from sin, we are now able to be in fellowship with Him and pursue the same goal that He does, (see Philippians 3:12). In addition, we are brought into fellowship with other believers. This is made possible by our fellowship with Christ. As Philippians 2:1-2 states, “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” Paul calls us to be united with one another because of our unity with Christ and our fellowship with the Spirit. So how do we devote ourselves to the fellowship of believers?
There are many angles we could take and particulars can vary from situation to situation, but we will look at three pursuits that are very closely connected to one another and are of utmost importance in every circumstance.
The first thing we should pursue is love. Jesus tells us in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” How will people know we are following Jesus? This verse says it will be by our display of love for other people who follow Jesus. This is something that people will notice today because it is entirely against our modern culture; it truly runs counter to human nature.
Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:9 that it was God Himself who taught the believers in Thessalonica to love each other. Love is so important that in the midst of Paul’s discussion on spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14, he pauses and gives us an entire chapter devoted to love. Why? None of the spiritual gifts matter if we do not love other believers and exercise our gifts in accordance with that love. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal,” (1 Corinthians 13:1).
This pursuit of love for one another enables our second pursuit: unity among the body. Paul drives this concept home repeatedly by referring to the fellowship of believers as “the body” of Christ (see Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 12:27, and Ephesians 4:2-6). Unity is made possible by love and is especially important because we are pressing towards the same goal: to be like Christ.
Our third pursuit should be conforming ourselves to the image of Christ. So often in life we are moving in divergent directions. Even in our Christian walk or in ministry we can lose our focus. We may be focused on becoming a better person, or managing our finances better, or growing our ministry – none of which are necessarily bad desires, but none of them is of any value in comparison to knowing Jesus Christ as Paul explains in Philippians 3:8. We must come to the realization that everything we do is to be done for the glory of God, as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:31. The way we live our lives reflect our values and what our heart truly treasures.
So, in order to truly devote ourselves to the fellowship of believers, we must love each other with a self-sacrificing love, which will bring unity. Not a unity based on what the world considers common ground, but rather in the fact that we are all saved by Christ, indwelt by the Spirit, and pursuing Christ so as to reflect the Father. Until we are physically united with Him, we won’t practice this love perfectly, but it remains our constant pursuit. This is how we devote ourselves to the fellowship of believers in an effort to become addicted to God.

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