I’m sure we all know that dreaded feeling after sitting for too long, laying funny during the night, or during a nap. You go to move and suddenly it feels like your arm or leg is gone. It is completely useless. It provides no function. You try to put your weight on your foot and you almost fall, or in some cases you do. Your limb is asleep, and is providing no function to your body.
I remember still quite vividly an incident in college when I tried to jump out of my top bunk to go turn off my alarm. I quickly shuffled to get out of bed and realized about a mili-second before the ground that my foot was asleep. I just crumpled on the floor with no ability to put pressure on my leg. Or other numerous times, waking up with a numb arm from sleeping on it wrong, and having no ability to move it or hold anything. I usually do the Ace Venture. The part when he gets shot with numerous darts and he just flails his arms around wildly. Yeah, I feel and look like that!
So why do I bring all that up? Because what about when this happens spiritually within the Body of Christ? This could be a continuation or part 2 of Stop Living Off Of Yester-Year’s Experiences, but rather I want to discuss when this becomes a problem presently, and the importance of every member of the body functioning.
Paul gives us the analogy numerous times concerning us as believers being the body, and Christ as the head. He presents us in 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 with this:
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 by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.
Then again in Colossians 2:19
…the Head [Christ], from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
This is merely one example of the understanding that we comprise the physical manifestation of Christ as His body here on earth. We are the physical representation of Him. But what about when a member of the body is not functioning? Think about it. When a part of your body stops functioning it creates a problem, and depending on what it is, it can be minor or major. A limb that’s asleep is nothing really to worry about. Just move it and get blood flow back to it to restore its function. But what if your pancreas explodes, or your heart stops working, or your lymph system stops working. You have a major issue that needs to be addressed!
In the spiritual body Christ and Christ alone is the head, not a human of any caliber, stature, or nature. Each member of the body should be functioning, and functioning fully. What does that function look like? Jump ahead just a little over to 1 Corinthians 14:26 and Paul tells us:
When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
Every person should bring something to the table to edify the body. Our physical bodies are so magnificent. In a perfectly healthy body everything works together to accelerate or decelerate a joint; every hormone works in harmony with the others; the joints, ligaments, nerves, muscles, digestive system, cardiovascular system, etc etc work in a symbiotic and harmonious relationship to make a body move, breathe, and live. Each one of us should be functioning and edifying the other members of the spiritual body, just as the various systems within our physical body edify each other.
If you are not bringing something to the table i.e. “a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation” you are being a dysfunction with in the body. If you are not being allowed to present these things as Christ has given you throughout the week, there is a dysfunction. Each member of the body should seek Christ on a regular personal basis so that when they come together with the other members they can edify each other.
Every member has something different to bring to the table. 1 Corinthians 12:15-30 lays out for us the importance and necessity of variety and dispersement of gifts and functions throughout the body.
If the foot says, “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 says, “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. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?
Now, is there a need for teaching and preaching by those entrusted with that gift? Of course, Paul shows us that by his writings and his teaching in the Hall of Tyranus, and also the sending out of Titus, Timothy, etc. But, this was after they were functioning members in their local body.
Each member functions and brings something to the table to edify the whole body, but ultimately it flows from Christ “from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.” (Col. 2:19) All growth flows from God through Jesus Christ the head.
Thoughts to ponder?
Is only one person doing all the talking/teaching when you gather?
Are you functioning, and “bringing something to the table,” when you gather together with the body? Or, are you sitting there with nothing new, nothing to say, doing nothing, being a dysfunction in the body?
Is only one person picking what songs to sing when you gather?
Is every member of the body truly bringing forth something that the Lord has given them, to edify the body?
— Now I am not saying one way of gathering is better or worse than another. I simply desire to see the whole body functioning as it should, each member edifying the other members.