When Brother Paul Curtsinger dropped by one morning, he made an arresting statement: “I don’t think Jammie and I understand what fellowship is. It can’t be believing the same teaching because I have seen people who believe the same doctrine not have fellowship at all.” The subject of fellowship had been on my mind for several days, and I told him so. Then I told Paul that after much consideration, I had concluded that not only is true fellowship not believing the same doctrine, but it is also not love, for God has loved many a person but had no fellowship with them at all. So have we all. There are people whom we all love dearly to this day, with whom we have no fellowship in the light of God.
Genuine fellowship in Christ, I concluded, is in our feelings. Fellowship with God means to feel what God feels, when He feels it. Jesus lived that way; he was alive to the feelings of his heavenly Father each moment. And in that fellowship, there is no sin. When we feel what our heavenly Father feels, as Jesus did, we will not sin, and we will not make wrong judgments. Our words and our actions will be directed by the feelings we share with the Father and the Son.
If we feel what God feels, when He feels it, we will rejoice at the proper time, and be grieved at the proper time. King David, for example, grieved for his little baby as long as there was hope that God would heal it, but when the child died, David “arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and went to the house of the Lord and worshipped. Then he came to his own house, and when he required, they set bread before him, and he ate” (2Sam. 12:20). David’s servants thought this was odd behavior, and they asked him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while it was alive, but when the child died, you rose and ate food” (2Sam. 12:21). David explained that the time to grieve was when there was hope for healing, and concluded by saying, “But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2Sam. 12:23).
This is how we want to live with others, especially they of the body of Christ. If we have fellowship with God’s feelings, we will fast and pray for a brother when he first begins to drift away from righteousness, and not wait until after he is gone to be sad. After all, when God sees the spiritual condition of one of His children begin to deteriorate, He feels sorrow – and so will we if we have fellowship with His feelings. When we feel what God feels, our thoughts and our actions toward a weak brother will reflect God’s feelings toward him, at the time God feels them, not later!
Pray to feel what God feels when God feels it. That is true fellowship with Him, and it is the only way we will ever come to know Him or ever have fellowship with one another in His Son Jesus Christ.