This is a body positivity post…not quite how you might be thinking…not about being positive toward your own body but rather toward the body of Jesus Christ, the church.
The church is called the body of Christ in scripture.
“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”
1 Corinthians 12:27
Christ is the head, the church is His body. Another description scripture uses for the church is the bride of Christ. He is the groom. She is the bride, still being prepared for the wedding feast to come (Revelation 19:7).
Today I wanted to focus on aspects of appreciating the body of Christ as a believer, also bearing in mind the intense love and sacrifice Christ has for His own body, the church. The perfect love that this groom has for his bride was shown best by laying down his life for her. He will protect and preserve His bride! And in the meantime, we can help tend to and strengthen the body as we are able.
The church is a living building. 1 Peter 2:5 says is it not a brick and mortar building you physically go to, but rather a building of people, coming together as living stones being built up in unity to bring glory to Christ. 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 are chapters describing various giftings the Holy Spirit gives to genuine members of the body.
These gifts are not special charms which are ours to claim, but rather spiritual tools which are given for the greater good of the body. They are given for a purpose…to be shared in the building up and strengthening of Christ’s body, the church.
“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
1 Corinthians 12:7
And as for the roles within the church, they are varied and all are valuable!
Varied & Valuable
“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
1 Corinthians 12:21-26
This passage says the less recognized parts are indispensable. The organs that pump the blood or cleanse toxins are indispensable. Though they could seem weaker than the eye or the mouth, they actually bear a greater honor and are treated with a greater modesty than the more presentable parts. And so the honor is distributed by God in different measures and through different means. We are not all an eye nor a hand, and thank God!
Today I offer a few examples I’ve seen through the years in our church. They display the glory and beauty of the indispensable roles of the body at work. Look closely within any living church, you will spot such gifts at work. And if not, how might God biblically call you to be an agent of service where you worship? Here are just a few examples:
-In the quietest part of the church a woman mourns a personal and terrible grief. She is ashamed to show her face at church; every Sunday is a battle to even be there. Yet each week in a quiet room where she cares for her baby she encounters some of the most unseen yet stalwart women of faith. Week after week God brings women who unknowingly speak deep comfort and nurture to her. There is no visible, external action being taken. No one else would even know it is happening, yet something vital is taking place: an internal wound is being bound up and tended to. This facilitates the early days of her healing and restoration.
-A family’s child becomes ill. Many people smile sympathetically from a distance for lack of knowing what to say. But some people circle ‘round and get right up close. They bring comfort and words of encouragement that they themselves have learned through their own walks through the valley of the shadow. And with compassion they use their sufferings to comfort someone else in theirs’.
-A faithful father suddenly loses his job. His family saves and economizes their dollars in their time of lack and waiting. God amazingly provides all they need during the shortfall through generous and serving hands within the body. Brothers and sisters in Christ are tangible means of God’s provision, love, and care.
-A couple stands firm on the word of God in matters of holy sexuality. The paraministry in which they serve is drifting away from making those same stands and instead is compromising God’s word. The couple may have fallen out of favor with men, but the favor of God remains. Consequently due to their example of courage and their willingness to stand, the backbones of many others in the body are strengthened.
There are countless ways–seen and unseen–where vital organs do life giving work in the body of Christ. We should notice them and bless them and thank folks like these who consistently and quietly tend to the health and care of the body.
No matter what role God asks us to play in the body, any spiritual gift we have been given is not ours to own, but rather ours to steward. We are not blessed by God in order to simply collect good gifts and tell people how blessed we are. Instead we are called to use the gift, put it on a lampstand so others will see Jesus. We are to pay it forward, give it back with interest, and share it freely with others, especially those of the household of faith.
So may we take pause and appreciate the ways God has made the body to interact and may we be caring for one another. In so much as it depends on us, may we bring a solid bond of unity and peace among God’s people. Amen