Post by Kendria Smith
I was sitting at work one afternoon when my cell phone, resting next to me at my desk, lit up. It was an Instagram notification alerting me that I had a new follower request. I did not recognize the name or profile photo, but nonetheless, I clicked on the stranger's profile to view its content and gather a bit more information. Hmm… from what I could tell, she enjoyed travel, was also a foodie and an avid shopper. It all sounded normal enough for me to click the accept button and confirm my new follower.
Thanks to modern technology, we have access to most of our relationships at our finger tips and can choose to manage them actively or passively. Gone are the days when we need to place a call to extend heartfelt birthday wishes to a friend or relative. Now, it just takes a second to hop on Facebook and add the obligatory happy birthday or "HBD" message to someone's page, along with everyone else. And why trek out of town to visit your best friend's newborn baby when your newsfeed is flooded with images of its every waking moment?
Herein lies the difference between "followship" and true fellowship. "Followship" is passive. You can check in when it is convenient and filter through what doesn't grab your interest. Fellowship may not always be convenient. It will most likely cost you something—most likely your time and attention.
We can also look at our relationship with God through the same lens. Are you committed or would you say…it's complicated?
John 15:5 states, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
The scripture is very clear. God's desire for us is to "remain in Him" and it is for our own good. As branches, how are we to grow and produce fruit if we disconnect ourselves from "the vine?" In order to be in fellowship with God, we must be purposeful with our actions. This means that we devote time each day in prayer and nourish our mind and spirit in His Word. We also must recognize that fellowship, unlike followship, is a two-way street. A healthy relationship is not something you just turn on when it is convenient, the way you'd click on an app to review the number of "likes" and messages you received on a particular photo you posted while on vacation. It involves the willingness to remain in constant communication and listening to what others have to say.
Revelation 3:20 describes it best- "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."
We may not see God but we know from His Word that He is omnipresent. He is always with us, through the Holy Spirit, to guide us and fellowship alongside us, especially during moments when we feel alone or overwhelmed. Choosing a relationship of fellowship versus "followship" comes down to how available we want to make ourselves as Christians. Do you prefer "bare minimum Christianity"-- checking in to church on religious holidays, living out the same cycle of struggles, and attempting to bargain with God when we finally come to the end of ourselves during a major catastrophe that we cannot resolve ourselves? Or do you prefer to spend your time on this earth living out of purpose—to love God and love others and experience all the joy, pain, sacrifice, peace and growth that a relationship of fellowship comes with.
Your choice may require commitment but it does not need to be complicated.