Community 4: Body
Since our relationships with the body of Christ (otherwise known as the Church) are the most important in our lives, we need to know what those relationships look like. Two passages in the New Testament come to mind in understanding the building up of our faith through the body. They are Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12. Notice that I am calling the Christian relationship a BODY. This is how the Scriptures describe the Church, and I am not talking about your specific local church, but of the collective or universal group of true believers.
B for Brotherhood
What do you know about your relationship with your brother or sister (if you have one or more)? It is close, you get to know each other very well, and there develops a mutual understanding that is only seen later in the marriage relationship. The purpose of this ‘brotherhood’ relationship is to keep each other accountable, as we are called to do (Hebrews 10:24-25), and to help each other grow. Accountability and discipleship require a close relationship with no other expectations other than to help each other get closer to God. A marriage, and a parent-child relationship, have expectations and an authority structure, whereas Christian accountability puts the two people at an equal ‘level.’
O for Obedience
Another aspect of familial relationships is the common point of authority that you must respect, the parents. As Christians, the Bible tells us that the ‘head’ of the body is Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:23-24). All Christians, no matter how mature, and no matter what age, are equally responsible to Christ. God has set some to be ‘under-shepherds’ (known as Pastors) to look after the ‘flock’, but even these look to Christ for instruction. Together, we strive to be obedient to the guidance of Christ and our Heavenly Father, according to the instructions given to us in God’s Word. We all have the same set of standards, the same guidelines, and the same Father to whom we look to for all we need.
D for Diversity
As parents work to raise up their children, they seek to teach responsibility by knowing each child’s abilities, then giving them ‘chores’ that use those abilities to benefit the whole family. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 reminds us, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. There are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.” Christians are all given gifts of the Spirit, and talents. There are no exceptions. Each are given a unique gift or set of gifts, for the purpose of building up the body, and sharing the gospel. It is only when everyone works together with that which they have been given that the body functions the way it should. Do not be jealous of what others have or can do. Also, do not desire what others have or can do, but rather joyfully serve with what God has given you, and how God has equipped you.
Y for Unity
Yes, I know that unity does not begin with a y, but it sounds like it does. The point is, that we who are a part of the body are joined together, just like the two branches of the Y come together into a unified stem, by the character of love. God the Father sends His love to unify us. It is what binds us as brothers and sisters. It is what motivates our obedience. It is what brings the complimentary nature of our diversity together, to work towards a unified and effective body.
Let us be the body of Christ, working for the glory of God, and the spread of God’s love.