Posts Tagged with “relationship”

Faltering Fellowship

I have experienced a life of rich friendships and sweet fellowships. I have relationships with beloved siblings in Christ all over the United States and in distant countries as well. God has greatly blessed me in this area. But maintaining fellowship can be difficult, and it is not always possible to maintain all fellowships.

I’ve identified three types of “faltering fellowships” in my life. The first is a fellowship damaged due to personality conflict. As sad as it is to admit it, there are some believers I don’t get along with and as long as I’m in the flesh I probably never will. I know I should love them, and maybe I do, but I don’t really like them. There are various reasons but that’s beyond the scope of this post. Needless to say, this is probably the most damaged of the three faltering fellowship but not necessarily the most irreparable.

The second faltering fellowship is due to distance. It’s hard to maintain a strong fellowship over long distances and time. Some of my fellowships that are in this category tend to pick up right where they left off when last we met, but communication between those rare meetings is sparse. I experience this type of faltering fellowship the most, though it is also the least damaged and easiest to repair. It is mainly an issue of determination and discipline in communications.

The third faltering fellowship is due to exclusivity. What I mean by this is that strong relationships with friends of the opposite sex have been diminished in order to respect the exclusivity of my relationship with my wife. I have seen the awful carnage that an inappropriate friendship can wreak on a marriage and I believe with all my heart that exclusivity is needed. This is the most irreparable of the three faltering fellowships because it is necessary, voluntary, and barring some tragedy, permanent.  I hesitate to call this type of relationship damaged. I think that diminished describes it best.

The amazing part of all this is that these pride damaged, long distant, and deliberately dimmed relationships will be fixed one day. There is a brother in [redacted] whose legalism has damaged his relationship with his family, with the body of Christ, and with me. [Redacted], we are both going to be in heaven sometime in the next 60 years or so, and I’m elated with the recognition that our relationship will be not only be repaired, it will be intimate. Praise God!

Those of you my friends, separated by the gulfs of time, space, and propriety, we will soon be in a place where distance, time, and temptation is irrelevant. I can’t tell you how happy I will be to see you there!



One of our biggest failures is the fallacy of self-sufficiency. When we are confident in our own strength, we tend to leave God out of the process. But God is a master at stripping us to the point where we are forced to call out to him. This isn’t capricious or selfish; it’s relational. He wants us to talk to him, to include him in our being.

Thief on crossConsider the thieves on the cross. They were stripped of their property, their wealth, their families, their liberty, their dignity, their health, and their future. They literally had nothing left except the company of a man so badly beaten that he could not be recognized as one. He suffered under a sign: The King of the Jews. In any other circumstance, this man being crucified with them would have been mocked or ignored. He claimed to be the Messiah, but he was on a cross!  At first they did revile him. But the words and attitude of that man witnessed to who he was. It must have seemed a slim hope for the thieves, so slim that it would have at any other time been passed over without thought. But the thieves were stripped. No matter how slight a chance that he was who he said, he was the only thing left. Still, one thief continued to mock him. It was not enough. But the second thief responded. “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The thief acknowledged his sins and recognized the sinless character of the God Man. He called him Lord and accepted that he had the power of death and life and was heir to the kingdom of God. Jesus responded, “This day you will be with me in paradise.” Not just restored to, but with: a statement of relationship. The stripping became a blessing.

God the Father spoke through the prophet Zephaniah:

I said, ‘Surely you will fear Me, you will receive instruction,’ so that her dwelling would not be cut off, despite everything for which I punished her. But they rose early and corrupted all their deeds. (Zeph 3:7)

His heartfelt cry for a relationship with His people is still felt today. May we have receptive hearts to the stripping when the hand of God moves against our self-sufficiency, so that we can experience it as a blessing and not a curse.