Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Fellowship of the Faith

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  -I John 1:7 (KJV)

As I write this I am in day two of a badly needed four day vacation.  Not only am I enjoying a wonderful visit with my sister and her family, I have also had the opportunity to do a little fly fishing.  Understand, however, that this is a new experience for me and fly fishing requires skills which I am only beginning to develop.  Yesterday I spent the better part of the afternoon fly fishing in the beautiful and scenic Clinch River which flows from the Norris Dam.  The fish weren't biting, but I had the time of my life.  Around 3:00 in the afternoon I was beginning to wonder if there were truly any trout in this river.  As if in answer to my question a large rainbow trout, over a foot long, swam casually past me.  If that fish could talk he might have said, "Forget about it rookie, we're way too smart for you."

Seeing this fish strengthen my determination and I continued to work on my skills with the fly rod.  As I fished an interesting phenomenon took place.  Several other fly fishermen walked by and I engaged a few of them in conversation.  When they discovered I was a beginner they were more than happy to offer helpful suggestions and insights.  In fact, it was though I was being welcomed into a brotherhood of sorts.  That's only fair, I suppose, because they too were beginners once and agreed that we all must start somewhere.  The advice they provided was equal to any class I might decide to take on fly fishing.  It occurred to me that there was a fellowship I was sharing with these others fishermen.  They understood the challenges and complexities of fly fishing and had labored many years in the pursuit of the sport.

As I pondered this I realized how our faith in Christ is similar to this.  As followers of Jesus we share a deep and abiding fellowship with one another.  The Word of God says if we walk in the light, as Christ is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.  The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin and we are bound together in the regenerating and sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.  Like fishermen who are willing to support one another, we too stand together in shared faith.  We bear one another's burdens, encourage each other in the faith, lift up those who have fallen, and pray for one another's trials.  We are called to stand together in faith, bound to each other with strong cords that cannot be broken.

What a blessing to know that we do not serve the Lord in isolation.  We have the Body of Christ, other believers, to encourage us along the way.  On another note, as I was winding up my afternoon of fishing I was approached by the local game warden who asked me if I had a fishing license.  What a blessing to reply that I did (This was the first time this has ever happened to me).  After showing him my license he too was very helpful and willing to offer advice to a new fly fisherman.  What a blessed brotherhood!

Recall the words of Jesus when he told the disciples that He would make them fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).  Let us now go and do likewise.

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