1 John 1:3 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.
What is fellowship? We often use this word in our Christian culture to speak of potluck dinners or home get-togethers, but what sets these things apart from any other gathering? What makes them Christian fellowship rather than just hanging out? The answer lies in one word: spiritual.
Whereas many people have social time and events where they interact with others, Christians are a part of fellowship because fellowship is spiritual. We connect with one another on a different level than those who just gather to have fun. We have a purpose behind our relationships and interactions with people that equate to fellowship.
In 1 John we read that those who had witnessed the earthly ministry of Christ were sharing their testimonies with others and therefore entering into fellowship with them. It’s through a relationship with Christ that this fellowship is able to happen. He is the center of it all, the core of our fellowship with God and with other people. It all hinges on Him and what He’s done. When we share Christ with others, we have fellowship, not just social time.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
When we’re prideful we can’t see past ourselves to meet the needs of others. We view ourselves as the highest priority and we care very little what God wants of us or what others might be feeling. But a humble spirit puts others first.
All around us are ads, people, groups, businesses and all other manner of communications telling us to put ourselves first and to basically forget about other people and what they want. You’re #1. You deserve the best. But a follower of Christ, a person after His own heart, will not be able to do this without feeling a strong urging to do the opposite. We’re called to put others first.
This can be taken to an extreme where the person seeking to put others before themselves actually neglects their own needs to their detriment. A balance has to be found though. We do have things we need and we shouldn’t forget to take care of ourselves. But by considering others more significant than ourselves, we’re just reorganizing our priorities a bit. We’re more courteous, doing things like helping out where we see a need, even when it might make us late. We’re willing to inconvenience ourselves for the sake of others. We give our time. This is humility and God honors it.
1 Corinthians 13:5 Love… does not insist on its own way.
Many marriages end simply because the two spouses could never quite become one unit. If either or both are constantly looking out for self and never putting the good of the entire family first, things will ultimately fall apart. This can be said of any relationship.
Jesus said that a house divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:25). There has to be unity in a home, each member of the family acting as a teammate, in order for any sort of happiness to be there. Each person seeking to get only for themselves, at the expense of others, will lead only to strife.
Relationships are team efforts, with one set of goals, one set of values, and a high regard for unity and respect. Two individuals trying to live for their own goals with no regard for each other’s is not a functioning relationship – and it’s not love.
Love is not self-seeking, it does not insist on its own way. It always – ALWAYS – puts others first. Sometimes you will have to put aside your own desires for the greater good of your marriage. Sometimes keeping a friendship means not getting your way. Sometimes selflessness won’t be reciprocated. Sometimes it may seem that you’re doing it all for no reason. But love always hopes, love always endures, and love never fails. Hold on and keep loving.