Not Myself By Myself

Last Sunday, Pastor Mike was talking about the value of the horizontal fellowship that we experience together. Eugene Peterson put it this way, “There can be no maturity in the spiritual life, no obedience in following Jesus, no wholeness in the Christian life, apart from an immersion in, and embrace of, community. I am not myself by myself.” We cannot be a fully devoted follower of Jesus without the fellowship, the community known as the church.

Over the last 20 years of ministry, I have had many conversations with very spiritual people who believe in God (some are even passionated about reading the Bible), but they find little value in the fellowship of the church. Many people have shared with me that they have all of their spiritual needs met directly from God. There is no doubt that the vertical fellowship that we experience directly from God is vital. Seeking God in solitude is essential. Jesus himself often went off to be alone with the Father.

Yet, it is impossible to be a fully devoted of follower of Jesus by yourself. We need the community of other people. One of the most difficult challenges of this COVID season has been the fractured connection with others. Our souls crave fellowship. We are only the fullest version of our ourselves when we are fully invested in Christ-centered relationships. If you want to live your best life, you will only find it in your best community with others.

This fellowship of the church also has the great benefit of helping us realize that we are not the center of our own universe. Life is not all about me, my wants, and my needs. It’s not all about my own personal relationship with God. The best fellowship is both vertical and horizontal with both God and God’s people. Every time we experience fellowship together we die a little more to ourselves. We grow in our love and care for each other. Fellowship together helps each of us become our truest self.

In His Grip,

Mike Toluba

No Comments