But exhort ONE ANOTHER DAILY, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Have you noticed how prone you are to get away from God’s people! Have you experienced a compulsive feeling to get away from God’s people? Have you felt inclined to stay away from the place where God has joined you in His will? You know it; how often you have confessed and testified that God has placed you in the body of believers yet how tempted we are to withdraw from the fellowship of saints! That is the way Satan brings death to our spiritual life. When something happens to us and somehow, we become spiritually low, or whenever we enter some critical issue in our life, there is a suggestion that comes most often to us to stay away from the House of God, from brethren and from fellowship of God’s people. There is a whisper within, “Keep away from God’s people. Get away from the testimony of Jesus Christ.” And if you have heard that voice in your life, you will know what that impulse has resulted in your life. You may have had many good reasons to withdraw from fellowship, but if you are honest, you will realize that it did not bring you any closer to God. The final analysis of your actions will tell you that by keeping yourself away from God’s people you did not obtain any good. The conclusion would be that staying or keeping yourself away from fellowship only resulted in entering into a closed circle of wilderness wandering! We are all susceptible to such situations. We may have gone through such times, but let us know that God never wants us to stay there. We ought to take this principle into our lives.
The enemy always tries to take us away from the source of life that we find in the fellowship of God’s people. If he can get us alone, then it is not difficult for him to achieve his goal. Many years ago I used to share a message about different kinds of sheep. There is one kind of sheep that we may call the ‘solitary sheep’. Although it is in the fold, yet it’s always found alone. Have you seen wild-life documentaries showing the way in which a fox or wolf attacks the sheep that is alone and adrift from the herd? That is death laying a trap for the sheep! If the enemy can lure you away from the fellowship, then he can isolate you and deal with you in detail. Remember, whatever the enemy does results in death and not life. We have to be very careful of the enemy’s subtle enticements. We need to examine our motives and be earnestly honest with ourselves. To be away from fellowship and from the gathering of God’s people is sure to spell spiritual death.
We must immediately get back from any kind of separation that the enemy has maneuvered us into. When we return what happens? We are encouraged and strengthened and life comes back to us again. We need to examine ourselves in the light of this word. Even if we have not withdrawn from fellowship fully, but let us at least remember that the enemy is always out to hinder fellowship. The enemy may also take you back into the things of the world so that he can rob, kill and destroy you little by little though that may not be so easy, it can happen. His primary intention is to somehow hinder the expression of this life.
You must know why you are reluctant to attend the gatherings of saints and why you want to keep away from God’s people. Why do these desires come to you? Such promptings from the enemy can come, wave after wave, one after another. I have met people who talk a lot about spiritual things and yet they do not have true fellowship with God’s people. We see the working of this subtle tactic of the enemy and his way of deceiving God’s people from spiritual fellowship. It begins with a slow withdrawing in the heart and then spreads dangerously to a place of total detachment. Fellowship and our gatherings are very important for each one of us. Remember, the place of fellowship is God’s place of recovery and restoration. Now we know why the enemy wants to break-up that fellowship we have in the body of Christ. The enemy does not want you to be restored back because if we are kept away from fellowship then it is an opportunity to deceive us. If any of us have a feeling or a mentality to stay away from the fellowship of saints, it would be wholly unhealthy for our spiritual life. It would work negatively in our lives and deprive us of life-giving sustenance. The enemy’s only desire is to bring death. He tries to work this out in many ways and is tireless in his attempts to sever us from fellowship. He looks for opportunities to quench our spiritual lives and to bring death so that we may not be able to express it. Therefore, it is very important to be in a place of true spiritual fellowship.