>But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them. John Ortberg wrote a book with that title a few years ago. Once you’ve experienced enough of life and the variety of people that God has created, you come to understand that people are only normal if abnormal is the norm.

People have strengths and weaknesses. Every person has a fallen, sinful nature. Everyone is flawed and wounded in some way. We can put on a pretty good façade, but then people get to know us.

Apart from Christ, our relationships would completely collapse. As believers, our commonality is not found in the shadows of our lives. It’s the darkness that draws suspicion, at times, even paranoia, about each other.

Everything that we’ve talked about over this last month, every” one another” that we have considered, is only possible in the light of Christ. Without Him, we are left to the devices of this world: conditional relationships, self promotion, and other sinful behaviors. In the light of Christ, we can actually tolerate each other’s flaws so that fellowship can actually be formed.

Sure we could sit in circles and compare our sinfulness. We would find an element of support there. But, I’m not sure that we would get much better. The point of fellowship is not to feel better about our sinfulness. Fellowship draws out the light of Christ within us. The people of God with the Spirit of God interacting with the Word of God can accomplish powerful things.

Our fellowship draws out the light of Christ. In turn, the light of Christ exposes the dark, shadowy areas of ourselves, not to embarrass us, but to demonstrate the lack of power sin has to hold us captive any longer. As we shed the shell of darkness, the light shines forth.

When we look at the church, we see people of different backgrounds, different races, different social classes, different upbringings, different genders, different hometowns and different flaws united together to celebrate the most important thing in our lives: the light of Christ. While everyone at church probably won’t end up being your best friend, we have something in common that elevates us beyond our differences.

What is the quality of fellowship with other believers in your life? Who is encouraging you?

If you are not in a small group, you have an opportunity on Sundays, September 5 and 12 at Brookwood Church to meet small group leaders and sign up for a 5-week study by John Ortberg called The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God’s Best Version of You. This is a great opportunity to learn and to experience true fellowship with other believers. A current listing of small groups is also available at brookwoodchurch.org/smallgroups

To subscribe or leave a comment on the galatians419 devotional blog: http://galatians419.blogspot.com/