[Maximum Joy Series] Dealing With Darkness

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading


Three Principles to Enjoy Fellowship with God

As human beings, we all long for deep and meaningful relationships. But, we also understand that it is one thing to enjoy somebody’s company and another thing to have a close relationship with that person. It is unfortunately uncommon and difficult to have the blessing and joy of experiencing the second type of relationship–a deep and meaningful one. In the Bible, this second type of relationship (the deep one) is translated as “fellowship,” from the Greek koinonia

In the previous devotional plan of this series, we looked at the apostle John’s intention and general idea when writing his first epistle (letter) to the church. We saw that fellowship is a word he repeats four times in the first chapter. This repetition should give us some kind of clue as to his intent. John wrote it so that we might experience an abundance of joy as we enter into the deep, intimate fellowship that he and the other apostles had with Jesus. 

Throughout the letter, John established the difference between relationship and fellowship. The apostle sees presently known sin in the life of a believer as a massive barrier to intimate fellowship with God. Our present sinfulness in our condition on earth does not threaten our position before God in heaven (our eternal relationship), but it most certainly is a threat to our fellowship with God on earth. 

Eternal life is received as a free gift when we believe the gospel of Jesus. This free gift allows us to enter into a relationship with God. Fellowship and harmony are built upon doing the Father’s will, obeying His wishes, and abiding in Him. If our desire is not one of settling for just a relationship with our Heavenly Father but one of fellowship with Him, then there are three principles John wants to teach us: the principles of right living, right loving, and right learning. Each principle deals with a potential barrier to a close fellowship with God: 

1. Right living–deals with our potential problem with sin (1:5–2:2).

2. Right loving–deals with our potential problem with our Christian brothers and sisters (2:3–11).

3. Right learning–deals with our potential problem with the enemies of Christianity (2:12–28).

In this devotional plan, we will cover the first barrier that gets in the way of our fellowship with God: Sin. We will expose the initial error (the incorrect response) and the correction (the right response) that leads us to the truth. The premise is: “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all” (vs.5). The truth will set us free and will also allow us to live rightly. To experience maximum joy.