But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:24-27 (NIV)
Read: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31
Consider: Following on from Paul’s discussion of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, he goes on in the remainder of the chapter to remind his readers that in the body each part is necessary for the proper functioning of the body. If any part is missing, or not functioning correctly (not using its gifts), the whole body suffers.
Paul goes on to state that his readers (the church at Corinth) are collectively the ‘… body of Christ …’ and that each person is ‘… a part of it’ (1 Corinthians 12:27). This does not mean that the church at Corinth was the only church that was part of the body, but that all Christians, congregations and denominations are collectively the body of Christ on earth. The imagery of the human body and the body of Christ is used to ensure that we understand that although the church is made up of individuals, it is to be seen as a whole unit, working together.
Paul states that in the the body of Christ there should be:
- no division (12:25);
- equal concern for each other (12:25);
- suffering together (12:26);
- rejoicing together (12:26).
Is this the picture of your church fellowship? If not, what may be preventing the members acting collectively, being concerned for each other, and suffering and rejoicing together? It might be that the quality hinted at by Paul at the end of 1 Corinthians 12, as the ‘… most excellent way’ (12:31) is missing, or in short supply. 1 Corinthians 13 starts by clarifying what ‘… the most excellent way’ is; it is love (13:1). This is not love for its own sake or love that is all squishy and warm, but love that in the cold light of day always seeks to put the interests of the whole body before their own.
Pray: Father, forgive us when we lose sight of our part in the body of Christ. Give us a fresh insight into what you have called and set us apart to do in the church (the body of Christ). Amen
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