I Corinthians 12:12 Our bodies have many parts, but the many parts make up only one body when they are all put together. So it is with the “body” of Christ…14 Yes, the body has many parts, not just one part…17 Suppose the whole body were an eye—then how would you hear? Or if your whole body were just one big ear, how could you smell anything? 18 But that isn’t the way God has made us. He has made many parts for our bodies and has put each part just where he wants it. [TLB]
“Our Maker gives assignments to people, “to each according to each one’s unique ability.” As he calls, he equips. Look back over your life. What have you consistently done well? What have you loved to do? Stand at the intersection of your affections and successes and find your uniqueness.” Max Lucado – Cure for the Common Life
Finding out which “part” of the body of faith you are can be challenging and confusing. Churches recognize that and try to help offering “find your Spiritual gift” classes. The intimidating thing about those classes is our mind goes first to the “highlight’s” list: preaching, teaching, healing, discernment and maybe even the grand service of the mission field. That’s a big list that most of us are not quite able to see ourselves in. Instead our choices become the confusing: “I don’t fit into any of those” or the challenging “I should.” Those are unworthy and limited choices that have nothing at all to do with the truth in I Corinthians.
Therein lies the beauty of that wisdom from Max Lucado. It takes every “part” to complete the body. Any gift put together with the body and your love of Christ is vital to complete his image. I’ve seen the love of sewing, knitting, artwork and even technology elevated to become valued gifts in the body of Christ. They become the eyes and ears of the image of Christ in the church and are gap fillers for the world outside to see as well. Those may seem to be unlikely gifts but when dedicated to Christ they have Spiritual power to draw others into the body too. Isn’t that the whole point of spiritual gifts?
Don’t waste another minute on discovering where you don’t fit! Look for that “intersection” Lucado speaks of in your life as a believer. Then consider this: God has given you that “gift” to make you a perfect fit for the body of Christ. “He has made many parts for our bodies and has put each part just where he wants it.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple [sanctuary] of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? NASB
The word [sanctuary] was the footnote next to the word “temple” in the verse but that word is my inspiration. I did a painting last summer for our church and titled it Sanctuary. It’s quite large – about 52” wide by maybe 36” tall. It’s a painting for both decoration and function. It protects the large TV screen in the fellowship room…more importantly it’s a message painting.
Sanctuary can be hard to find in the big picture of life. Do you see the cross? The cross is the path. Look for sancTuary where the living water, the cross, the open door and the sun all come together and reveal the secret. Expand the image and look more closely and you’ll see the “secret” of sancTuary, ΙΧΘΥΣ, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. See it?
Sanctuary is a beautiful promise God has provided for the big picture of your life. But wait there’s more! 1 Corinthians 3:16 goes beyond the promise of safety to an incredible blessing of assurance if you’ve found the “secret” of sancTuary. “Do you not know that you are a temple [sanctuary] of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Your life IS the sanctuary [temple] God has chosen to live in! Live big!
1 Corinthians 2
• 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
• 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
• 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
If you’ve been a believer in Christ more than 5 minutes you’ve heard about sharing your faith with others. God has become part of your life. He’s no longer out there in some vague cosmos, he’s changed your mind! That’s an exciting and real process that barely has words to describe it. This is where you get to raise your hand in agreement with Paul, “I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.”
It’s scary stuff to speak [or write] about our faith because our spirit knows the reality of our thoughts and our merely human judgment finds it so easy to put information ahead of transformation. Paul’s words are both challenge and assurance to us.
Our words don’t have to be “wise or persuasive” but they do have to reveal God’s power to combine human wisdom with the work of his Spirit. That’s what makes them testimony and gives us the assurance that the “mind of Christ” is being created within us.
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’…
Don’t be fooled into believing any details of the birth of Jesus were God’s last ditch effort to provide a place for him because there was no room in the inn. That stable and food trough became the sacred space, the temple, where the needs of the people and the holiness of God finally came together.
“God did this so that they [we] would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him…” This is the reality of temple building and Advent; it’s not a blueprint of a grand structure that will save us. It’s God’s intervention into our daily lives that fills a sacred space within us where our needs and his holiness can finally come together.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. I Cor 6:19
44b…If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being;” the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.
1 Corinthians 15
Remember this saying? You never get a second chance to make a first impression? Our first impression of life happened when God picked up a handful of dust and “The first man Adam became a living being.” It was a dramatic miracle of life that became a dramatic loss when broken and banished became “natural.” Fast forward to a much later time; a world filled with people who carried that same first impression of loss. “The spiritual did not come first, but the natural.”
God placed The Advent in that cradle long ago as a sign of faith in his creation and to reveal his plan to restore the miracle of that first creation. A baby would show the reality that new life is dependent on time, growth and nurture. This baby, “the last Adam, a life-giving spirit” would be our second chance to overcome that first impression of broken and banished…”and after that the spiritual.”
1 Corinthians 1:4-5. I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge—
I’ve read and heard Paul’s words before. Of course they are great, and now I’m thankful I have a really good reason to pray them. I sat in church on Sunday and listened to one after another grateful volunteer share what they were thankful for. We sang a line from Build You Kingdom Here…”we are your church.” That’s not new either but this time the words of the people around me gave that phrase a fresh reality. I’m thankful for that too.
The church is not just a neat little bundle of like-minded people with well-defined walls around us. The church is the people around us who’s ordinary lives depend on more than those walls to define them. The church is people who’s minds have been changed and enriched with the extraordinary grace of Christ Jesus. That’s what makes “we are your church” worth singing about.
Build Your Kingdom Here
I’ve been starting each morning with a very simple short prayer. “I love you Lord, please lead me.” Then I start reading and wait for that to happen.
• Thursday: Waiting
Read Esther 1 👎 [that’s a thumb’s down sign]
Scanned Joel 1 👎
Read a new resource: Os Hillman TGIF [Today God Is First] on BibleGateway.com. The apostle Paul said, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13)
…He [God] has foreordained that we should accomplish great things in His name – not so that we will be accepted or become more valued, but to experience the reality of a living relationship with a God who wants to demonstrate His power through each of us.”
• Friday: Still Waiting
Read Oswald Chambers
1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
“Every tiny bit of my life that has value I owe to the redemption of Jesus Christ. Am I doing anything to enable Him to bring His redemption into evident reality in the lives of others? I will only be able to do this as the Spirit of God works into me this sense of indebtedness.”
• Saturday Morning: Read Philemon👍
At last, Scripture that catches my attention! Has God been leading these last few days while I thought I was floundering? Re-reading all my notes…again. Finally I do see a thread in one single verse that ties these last few days together!
• Sunday Blessing: Seeds of Grace
Philemon 1:25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
God wants to demonstrate His power through each of us as the Spirit of God works into us this sense of indebtedness. That’s where our understanding of “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” is revealed as more than comfortable personal assurance and becomes the Seeds of Grace to share with each other. That’s the blessing.