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Fellowship with God?

Have you ever been in a really dark place? A place where you could not see your hand in front of you, or the rocks and ruts under your feet? And you wished you had a light of some kind; you would have even settled for a cigarette lighter or a match?

David and I were living in Kentucky for the first few years of our married life and had occasion to visit Mammoth Cave. We entered the cave system with a tour group. After everyone was inside where no outside light penetrated, the tour guide turned off the electric lights. I had never been in darkness that was, well, so dark. After about a minute of pitch darkness, a small child began to whimper; then the tour guide lighted a match. What a difference! The match struck in the dark cave caused the darkness to disappear: light and darkness cannot co-exist.

The tour guide said that after a certain amount of time in total darkness, the human eye straining for light would begin to see phosphenes – which are flashes of light induced by a stimulation of the retina – people can experience light without any real light entering the eye.

There are people who think they are walking in spiritual light – in fellowship with God – who are really walking in darkness; they are actually walking in sinful things (darkness), but are experiencing flashes of “light” that seem to be indications of God’s presence.

“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth.”  1 John 1.6

What is fellowship with God?  In Scripture, fellowship with God is likened to walking in light (1John 1:7).   “Walking in darkness” excludes fellowship with God. Why? Because where there is light, there is no darkness; where there is darkness, there is no light: they are mutually exclusive.

Is fellowship with God equated to attending church services? Sitting in a Sunday School class? Giving money to the church? Singing in the choir?  Helping the poor? Serving as a deacon or elder or Bible teacher?

No. It is possible to do all those things and have no fellowship with God at all, just as it is possible to be a wife or husband and go through all the external rituals, including sex, with no touching of spirits – no fellowship.

Fellowship with God is communion with Him . . . it is enjoying His presence as you would enjoy the company of someone you love, who reciprocates that love.  Fellowship is possible when there is nothing between you and God which blocks, shadows, or causes pain or embarrassment. Fellowship is being conscience-clean in God’s presence, not cringing in fear of exposure of some hidden sin. Fellowship is peace with God.

We cannot fellowship with God and deliberately continue in those things which characterize lives that have no spiritual light. For sin destroys communion with God: it is darkness and cannot co-exist with light. If we walk in sin and say everything is all right between us and God, we are lying to God and to others, but mostly to ourselves.

Where are you walking? Are you experiencing true fellowship with God in the place where you are walking, or are you just seeing spiritual “phosphenes”?

Prayer:  Father, continually shine your light in my life so that I will not walk in darkness. Shine your light on any sin in my life – expose it so that it can be confessed and my heart can be swept clean by your Holy Spirit.

©2012, Marcy Alves

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