Monday, April 01, 2013

Unity brings maturity

If you've ever whacked your finger with a hammer, you know the sensation of pain shoots through your entire body. Immediately the body rushes into action to begin the process of healing. The platelets in your blood come to the rescue. They stick together to form a clot so that the bleeding stops. A scab forms and new skin cells multiply to repair the wound. Damaged blood vessels are repaired and the white blood cells attack any germs that may have gotten underneath the skin. God designed the body to work together with such amazing precision that we don't even have to stop and think, in order for the healing to occur.

He who created the body knows that there is no division in our bodies. So it's interesting that God uses the body as an analogy for the church. He says that, "Christ is the head of the body, the church." Colossians 1:18

We are all members of the body of Christ and although each one has a different function, the goal is to work together as one body. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:4

Every Christian has been given at least one spiritual gift by God. Some may have several spiritual gifts. The idea is to use your gift for the good of the body.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11-12

We are supposed to use that spiritual gift so that the body can function properly. Each member of the body plays an important role. The point is to know your gift and to exercise it. You wouldn't want to be without an eye, a hand or a foot. Nor would you desire to live without your liver, kidney or a lung. Those inner unseen members are no less important than the outer members who get all the attention.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. 1 Corinthians 12:21-24

God uses the analogy of the body to show us how the church should operate together in unity with no division among its members. We share our joys and pains.

God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.  If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:24-27
Our enemy Satan still causes division within the body of Christ. He prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. With thousands of years of practice, he's good at what he does. We fall into his trap when we promote our own selfish interest or escalate petty differences. We fail to see that people are not the source of the difficulties. We are involved in spiritual warfare with the powers of darkness.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

God's design is that we who proclaim the prophetic message should equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. In turn his people are to encourage one another, build up unity within the body, until we become mature and complete in Christ.

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13

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