September 26

You Belong, Part 2

Romans 12:4-5 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

Yesterday, we revisited the marvelous reality that we belong, specifically to the family of God. We don’t have to wonder about that; it’s a done deal if we’re believers.

To continue the analogy of family: As members of a family, we have family responsibilities. We don’t all have the same function, of course, but we’re all equipped. Happily, the previous verse (Romans 12:3) tells us that God has dealt to each of us a measure of faith. Then the following verse (12:6) tells us that we each have gifts; they are just different from what others possess because God wants it that way.

So within that family we call the body of Christ, we have a purpose and a calling. We’re called to express our gifts for the good of the family and for the glory of God. Now we live in a culture that values expression, but most highly prizes self-expression as if it were an end in itself. As the rest of Romans 12 indicates, we are called to use our gifts to the fullest. But it’s not ultimately about us expressing ourselves as it is allowing Jesus to express Himself through us.

Of course He uses our personalities and talents, as well as our innate abilities, learned skills and even our temperaments. But the bottom line is that Jesus indeed works through the gifts He gives us to extend His kingdom. When that happens, He is pleased and we are fulfilled.

To understand this more, we have to say the same thing about the body of Christ as we have said about the family. The body of Christ, the church, is not like a family; it IS a family. In the same way, the body of Christ is not like a body, it IS a body. Paul didn’t just happen to notice an interesting metaphor that helped explain some spiritual truths. He saw a spiritual reality. And as with the idea of family, the idea of a body being created to express the Lord Jesus Christ was hatched in eternity, long before Adam had a physical body.

So if we are the body, Jesus wants to use His body to move, to build, to heal, to wage warfare, to create, to love—all the things a body does. And as any body does, we get direction from the Head. Imagine how you would feel if your mind directed your arms, legs, mouth or fingers to do something, and they didn’t respond. This gives us a little insight into how God looks at things sometimes.

We often wonder why God doesn’t do this or that, or why He allows certain situations to exist. How different so many things would be in this world if the church began to really act as the body of Christ, doing everything the Head leads us to do. Instead of our always waiting for God to move (a real spiritual exercise we need to do sometimes), perhaps we should position ourselves to listen and obey. We may be surprised and blessed by what we hear.

Prayer: Lord, I don’t want to mess things up by getting involved where I don’t belong. But I don’t want to be waiting for You to do something (or worse, complaining that You’re not doing enough) when You’re waiting for me to do something. Help me to be a cooperative member of Your body.

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