Blog by Charis Flake
Early on in the Fellowship, I found myself sitting in the top of an old barn faced with a simple, elementary question. My manager asked me “who is God to you?” He gave me some Playdoh and told me to make something that represented who God is to me. The surprising thing about all of this was that even after many years of following the Lord and getting to know Him in his Word my mind was blank, and I found myself thinking I don’t know who God is to me. I can tell lots of people who God is but who he is to me personally in the present moment of my life seemed unknown. And here in this moment, in a somewhat questionably smelling old barn, my journey in the Fellowship really began.
In Isaiah 43:7, God’s Word says that we are “created for [God’s] glory.” In John 17:3, Jesus says knowing God is the purpose of our life: “This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ.” The purpose of my life and yours is to know God and make Him known. At the beginning of the Fellowship, I knew God was present, but I could not easily tell you who He was to me personally or ways He was evident to me. The purpose of my life is to know Him and enjoy Him and then to tell everyone around me out of the outflow of my heart His great name—not just in His Word but in my life moment by moment. I knew these things but found myself not able to fulfill my ultimate purpose because a lack of personal knowledge and intimacy with God.
In the beginning of the Fellowship, I studied Joshua. At the end of Joshua, God speaks through Joshua to the Israelites reviewing all that he has done for them since they came out of Egypt until now in bringing them into the promised land. Through Joshua God says, “I gave you a land you did not labor for, and cities you did not build, though you live in them; you are eating from vineyards and olive groves you did not plant. Therefore, fear the Lord and worship Him in sincerity and truth. Get rid of the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and worship Yahweh.” As I sat and read this one quiet morning at the dining room table of our bougie cabin, I realized in the same way the Israelites were brought into a land, houses, and food they did not labor for so that they could rest and worship the Lord, I was brought into the Fellowship with a house and groceries that I do not pay for, so that I could rest and worship my Lord. This year the Fellowship has been my unique promised land where most of my cares are taken care of so that I can focus on Him, meditate on Him, and savor Him—my living water and the bread of my life. The Fellowship has provided me a unique place to seek the Lord.
As I reflect on my year in the Fellowship and ask myself who God is to me, unlike before, my mind is filled with the truth of who God is not just who He is throughout scripture or in other people’s lives but who He is to me in my life right now. Like David in Psalm 38, I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. Now, I am sitting at my little breakfast table at home writing this blog post because Corona has sent me home. I am not in the place the Fellowship provided me to uniquely seek the Lord, but the Fellowship is far from over and will never be over. The Fellowship has helped to provide me the tools and disciplines for a lifetime of training my taste buds to desire and seek the Lord. In this place, I was challenged to and got to practice a number of things in order to make myself available for the Lord to work (1 Cor. 3:7).
The Fellowship has taught me to actively live out my faith in a community that pushed me and prayed for me, to share my faith boldly in my words and actions to those around me, and how to present my body daily as a living sacrifice through different ways of taking off myself and putting on Christ. I will strive to live for the Lord in this fellowship for a lifetime until I am with my savior again. The Fellowship is not a place or a group of people to me, it is a lifetime of knowing the Lord and making Him known wherever I am with whoever I am with until I am in eternal promised land with God.