Several weeks ago I visited the zoo with my daughter and grandchildren. While there, I had opportunity not only to enjoy the animals, but also to appreciate the art work on the Donor’s Memorial Wall.
Artists have long appreciated the human body. Scientists have studied how our bodies function, documenting their findings. The medical profession has tended to our body’s health, or lack of, from the inside out, observing its complexities. Lovers have written songs, poems and odes expressing fascination about the design and allure of the human form. I doubt anyone would deny the value of a healthy and fit body.
Even causally observing the genius of our design, it is easy to appreciate our Creator. Our appreciation deepens as we understand that God has replicated the design of the human body in His design for His church. He calls us the Body of Christ. We, His Body, were designed and purposed to act like a healthy body.
Each body needs a head. My body is available to respond to the directives from my head, my mind. I tell my body to sit, stand or walk and each part acts in agreement to make my efforts coordinated….or at least most of the time. 🙂 Jesus is the Head of the Body of Christ. Following the leadership of Jesus coordinates His Body.
A healthy body needs a flowing circulatory system to pump blood into all the parts of the body, and the Body of Christ needs the flow of His Holy Spirit to support His life in us. The health of each body part ensures a better quality of life. The same is so with His Church, His Body. Our arms, hands, legs, feet, fronts, backs, internal organs and external appearances, should all receive adequate respect as we care for our body. Granted, a hand and a big toe function differently and definitely view life from different positions. However, both are vital for efficiency in life. If we respect our bodies, we care for each part, and experience health. The Body of Christ is healthy when we do the same thing.
1 Corinthians 12 (NLT)12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.
Understanding that we all have body parts, there is no need for us to walk around with labels for each body part. We recognize the design of the body or body part, without the labels. If we become familiar with God’s design for His Body, through His Word and His Spirit, we are able to recognize and respect other parts of His Body, without using denominational labels. Another aspect of body life is that we don’t normally tell an arm to remain motionless and inactive. We give freedom for that arm to respond spontaneously, as it is led by the head. By allowing an arm to act as an arm, there is greater ability and a continual flow of healthy life. In contrast, consider the disadvantage of wearing a sling or a cast on an arm. A hand must work as a hand, freely moving in its designated purpose, and should not be required to act as a foot, or worse yet, to be made immobile. As each body part acts in its own diversity of function, there is a higher purposeful, efficiency for the whole body.
The same is so with His Body. There is diversity of gifts, callings, and ministry emphasis, within the Body of Christ, given by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit. There are parts of His Body focused on healing, deliverance, and miracles. Some parts of the Body deal with prophecy, wisdom, knowledge ministry, declaring His truth as revealed by His Spirit and His Word. Others are all about teaching, evangelizing and preaching. There are those called to revival awakening, prayer, tongues, faith and worship while other parts of the Body are serving, ministering, giving and providing. Each part of the Body of Christ should have respect. Yes, there may be overlapping assignments, like you use your toes to pick a sock up off the floor, but it is your hand that you predominately use for picking up and carrying. In like manner, we all need to pray, but some parts of the Body of Christ are set apart for intercessory prayer as their main focus.
By trusting Jesus, our Head, and as His Holy Spirit flows through us, we can freely allow each part of the Body of Christ to work in the distinct function and purpose designed by God.
Each local assembled Body of Christ needs to have fully functioning Body parts to be able to act in vital roles for His Kingdom life. Denominational labels tend to restrict certain parts of the Body, depending on their viewpoint and interpretation of God’s Word. Removing those denominational restrictions allows greater freedom for the Holy Spirit to tell an arm, a foot and a back, in that particular assembled Body of Church, how to move and flow in God’s ordained purpose. Also, when labels are removed, the tendency to only use certain parts is diminished. Jesus did not recognize or approve of denominational labels or division among the members of His Body. He desires whole Body Life.
Jesus Forbids Sectarianism
Mark 9:38-41(NKJV) 38 Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.”39 But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is on our side. 41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.
Several years ago, I took off a denominational label, one that I had worn since childhood. It was not an easy thing to do. I was hesitant to give up what I perceived to be a comforting place in a denominational position. But God opened by eyes to understand a little more clearly His Body design. Now I am able to look at the Body of Christ, as a whole. It is far more satisfying to embrace a complete and healthy Body, with all the parts visibly active. Removing that label has freed me to love more, and to love more of His people.
As we face increasing tension, turbulence and stress in our world, this is surely not the time for the Body of Christ to be dismembered and divided. We need to line up under our Head, with all parts in action. A whole Body displays a larger reflection of His love, peace and grace, and a greater salt value to the world. We can’t afford to face the future as a maimed Body, wounded by amputation. The Holy Spirit is able to heal, make whole, and unify the Body of Christ…we just need to listen and obey Him.
I’ve included a link to an amazing story about a friend from Russia. You will be greatly moved by this true story, and what happened to her body, physically and spiritually.
connecting, with love