How can I be a member of the body of Christ?
Each member of the body of Christ is valuable. How can I find and fulfill my role?
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“That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:21.
Is it actually possible that all people can be one the way Jesus said here – all members of one body? The world is so diverse. We have different cultures, languages, circumstances, personalities and interests. How is it possible that people who are so different can become one, so that love drives us and there can be peace among us?
In His prayer, Jesus speaks about keeping God’s word and about loving the truth. When I think about how I have it with others, I realize how often it is sin in my own flesh that causes me to have conflict with others. (James 4:1-2.) Even if it is only in my thoughts and I don’t actually fight with someone, perhaps irritation comes up because of something they have said or done. Or maybe I am tempted to look down on someone because they are different from me, or because they seem less “honorable.” When I examine these thoughts with God’s word, then I see the truth is that often I have very proud thoughts about myself. And if I allow those thoughts to grow, they cause unrest and tension when I am with others. If I accept God’s judgment over these things in my life and I cleanse myself from them, then I can come to peace with all people.
We are members of one body
“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being 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 have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-13.
When Jesus finished His time on earth, He sent His Spirit back to the disciples so that they could have power to overcome sin in the way that Jesus did while He was on earth. It was Jesus’ intention not only to create a way back to the Father, but also to make it possible that we could follow Him. Because He made this way back to God, He is the Head of the body. But God is also forming a body on earth of people who are going the same way that Jesus went. The members of this body are extremely diverse – from every corner of the earth. There are no earthly qualifications needed to belong to this body – only a love for Jesus that drives me to follow Him on the way of the cross.
“For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them …” Romans 12:4-6.
Each part of the body is not the same and each part performs a different function. But Paul clearly explains here that each part is equally important so that the body can function in harmony. This means that no matter what my age, gender, nationality, circumstances, or personality, I am a vital member of the body of Christ if I am following Him on the way of sanctification!
Each member of the body is valuable!
Humans are automatically drawn to things that are considered to be great or honorable in the eyes of people. It is so natural to despise something that perhaps is necessary, but not seen as “important.” But the truth is that God created each one exactly as they are. In His eyes, the smallest member of the body is just as valuable as the more visible ones!
Before the foundations of the earth, He planned works just for me, which no one else can do in the way that He intended. (Psalm 139:16.) When I can see the value of the works that God has for me – even if they seem small and insignificant – then I am 100% along in building the body of Christ, as long as I am obedient to do them. And when I do exactly what God has given me to do, and I pray for the others so that they can do their task, then I am along in strengthening the whole body and it functions in perfect harmony.
Paul writes that understanding the value of each member of the body is a mystery. (Ephesians 5:32.) It is only when the Holy Spirit reveals it to me that I can really understand to see the value of those around me the way God sees them. (Ephesians 1:17-18.) And when I acknowledge that there is something inside of me that causes discord, and I “purify my soul in obeying the truth, through the Spirit,” then it becomes natural for me to love the others “fervently with a pure heart.” (1 Peter 1:22.) Any divisions that might come from our differences fade away when we have fellowship in the Spirit. Then when I see others doing those works I cannot do, instead of being envious, I am filled with love and thankfulness for each member because I see the effect of working together in unity.
Jesus left an example of one who came to serve and give His life for the others. He never did it for honor or to seek personal gain. He had such a love for mankind and He wanted to share everything He had with the others. Through His life, He clearly showed that unity comes through a mind to serve and bless the others. He taught that the only way to become one with the others is to take care of the sin that is inside my flesh. Then I am promised that I will have life, peace, and joy! All those who do this experience the miracle that they become members of one body – the body of Christ!
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Philippians 2:3.
You may be interested in reading more on our topic page “the body of Christ,” or in the following articles:
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.