“Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long, and in Your righteousness they are exalted. For You are the glory of their strength, and in Your favor our horn is exalted. For our shield belongs to the Lord, and our king to the Holy One of Israel.” -Psalm 89:15-18
There are so many things in our lives that bring us joy.
- There is the joy of being a child and discovering all of the wonders that life holds.
- There is the joy of being young and in love.
- There is the joy of a bride beginning a new chapter of life, full of optimism and hope.
- There is the joy of a positive pregnancy test.
- There is the joy of holding a newborn baby, counting their toes, and smelling their head.
- There is the joy of watching our children grow and mature.
- There is the joy of seeing our children obey the gospel.
- And, I have also been told that there is a great amount of joy in becoming a grandmother.
We can have joy throughout every single part of our lives! But, the greatest joy that we can ever know is that joy of being a Christian.
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” -Philippians 1:3-6
There is so much joy in Christian fellowship. The togetherness that should be a part of the Lord’s body brings great joy. I often think that we have misunderstood the word “fellowship”. Fellowship does not just mean that once-a-month potluck after morning worship. Normally, we are so busy setting up, eating, and then cleaning up that there isn’t much time for real fellowship anyway! Fellowship means “a joint participation, or an association”. We all know people everywhere we go. My family makes fun of me because I am on a first name basis with Kevin and Jeff in the produce department, and Henry at the post office, who held my hand on 9/11. I am acquainted with these people. In our 22 years in Winchester, VA, I have acquaintances in many places– through the school systems, through doctors’ offices, and through my business, but I am not related to them by blood like I am related to my Christian family, specifically my Christian sisters. I am related to these sisters by blood, that blood being the blood of Jesus Christ. You see, we are a family, and we have fellowship because of that blood.
Paul had joy just thinking about the brethren at Philippi. Christians should want to be together– it should absolutely not be a burden to be in each other’s company at all. However, many assume that punching the time clock of church attendance satisfies all fellowship requirements, but those who take that mindset lose out on the joy that comes from true Christian fellowship.
Fellowship can be found by doing a variety of activities together. Working together brings joy– setting aside time for a project, like a ladies day, causes us to spend more time with each other and helps us draw closer to one other. It is a joy to see a project begin and grow and see positive results.
Fellowship should be happening in our homes also. Brother Tom Holland once said about fellowship that “I want to get to know the people better that I will be spending eternity with!” Shouldn’t that be the case with us?
Another place that joy is greatly displayed is in the spiritual growth and fruitfulness of each other. Perhaps it’s in your children or someone you taught in Bible class or in a private study. Perhaps it’s in your spouse. Regardless, seeing the change and growth in others causes great joy.
We can also have that joy of Christian fellowship through prayers. Prayer lists are not for having your name up in front of a congregation for recognition. We are to bear one another’s burdens, and the only way we will know those burdens is if we share them with each other. Paul prayed for his fellow Christians with joy, and he knew that the Philippian Christians were praying for his deliverance from prison! This brought him great comfort and joy. How wonderful to know that our fellow Christians are bringing our names and concerns in front of God on our behalf!
I am so thankful and also joyful for my Christian sisters.