Everywhere you turn these days, it seems there is such negativity. Whether it’s disappointment in the government, uncertainty at work, which leads to anxiety about finances, the challenges of raising children and/or grandchildren…it’s easy to get consumed by a world full of nay-sayers or dooms-dayers.
How do we defend ourselves against such negativity? How do we continuously remind ourselves of whom we find hope in? Simple – our Christian fellowship.
The Lord never intended for us to go through the journey of life, as complex and difficult as it is, alone. Hebrews 3:13 says, “Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” When you open the window of anxiety, bitterness, or fear…even the tiniest crack…on a regular basis in your life, the Enemy’s cool breezes tend to keep blowing into your home and fill its space. In his cunning ways, he’s able to infiltrate cracks and crevices, when you least suspect it. So the best rule of thumb is to try to seal him out and to be in constant Christian fellowship with others who will speak God’s truths to you…and you to them.
Proverbs 12:25 – “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down but a good word makes it glad.” We all know whom the “nay-sayers” are in our lives…those negative people that can weigh us down…pull us down, robbing us of an otherwise joyful day. Not only do we need to know who those people are, but we need to actively pray for them. (You thought I was going to say avoid them, didn’t you?) While we may be tempted to avoid those people entirely, it is best to limit our interaction but even more importantly, let them serve as reminders of how we DO NOT want to be to others. We are to be His light…be full of love and inspiration. The world certainly has more than enough critics, scoffers, ridiculers, and those that generally serve as a distraction from the joy, strength, and hope that can ONLY be found in our loving merciful God…let us be shining examples of that very joy, strength, and hope in this broken world. But what happens on those days when we can’t be that encourager?
Rely on these words from Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking the Lord to make us pleasing to Him; in fact, He loves to teach us His ways. He tenderly molds our character so that we speak, think, and act in a way that honors Him. The sanctification process may be painful but, when completed, is very powerful for His Kingdom.
Christian fellowship is so important in our spiritual growth. When we surround ourselves with those who live and welcome His sweet Spirit into their daily lives, it is not only inspirational and encouraging to our soul but our Heavenly Father is among us. “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” – Matthew 18:20
Christian fellowship is so important so that in times when we are lacking the emotional fortitude to face the adversities that life brings us, we can draw His strength and wisdom from genuine Christian friendship. In those times, it will be easy to find those who will tell you how to drown your sorrows in a bottle, or to strike back, etc. Run from those that seek only to instruct you to fulfill the desires of your own flesh. Run to those who will give godly counsel. Run to those who are knowledgeable in His word to guide you and can share with you such wisdom from Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Christian fellowship also ensures accountability. In our ever sinful nature, we are going to make mistakes, have lapses in judgement, etc. and it is through surrounding ourselves with God-fearing people who can provide us with His wisdom and correction, painful as it may be, that can serve as a compass when we are in a storm that clouds our judgement.
Ephesians 6:11 tells us that we can put on the full armor of God but let us also remember that there is strength in numbers and we are even more powerful when we have His army standing with us on His battlefield.