In your search for God’s plan for your life, you have learned from Romans 12 that you cannot live an isolated life, apart from other Christians. The apostle Paul says: For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Compare what he says in 1 Corinthians 12:
For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.
There are three things you need to see in that statement of Paul there.
- First of all, the choice of where you are to be in the body and what you are to be is not yours but God’s. God has placed the members. It’s not something you decide, it is something that God has decided and reveals to you.
- Secondly, as this comes to pass in our lives, you merge your life in a larger entity, the Body of Christ. And yet, you still retain your individuality. It’s like a little finger that finds its place on a hand, side‑by‑side with four other fingers and is thus connected to the total life of an energy and purpose of a complete body. On the other hand, it is not like a drop of water that falls into the sea and loses its individual identity. As Christians, you never lose your individual identity but you become part of a larger corporate group still retaining our own individual identity. You still are the particular member that God ordained for you to be.
This is really a contrast between the message of the Christian faith and the Oriental cults and philosophies which are so prevalent today. I studied those for a while before I became a committed Christian and those Oriental cults, basically, treat man like a little drop that falls into the sea and loses its identity. But that’s not an attractive proposition. For me, I don’t want to do that. I want to retain my identity still and become part of a larger body and that’s what God has provided for us in Christ.
- Then the third truth that follows from Paul’s words about the body is this: that corporately we are able to represent Christ in His fullness to the world. No one of us can adequately and fully represent Christ individually but, when we are united to a body, then that body can totally and corporately and fully represent Jesus Christ to our world.
Father, I want to thank You that You have created me uniquely, with unique and personal gifts. I acknowledge that I am part of Your Body, Your Church, and that, together, we may represent Christ, not only to the world, but also in the spiritual realm. Help me to find my place, and release in me, through Your Holy Spirit, the gifts You have put in me, for the benefit of Your Body. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!