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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“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 honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”—1 Corinthians 12:25-27(NIV)
There’s no better way to describe the era we live in than “division,” which is something that’s not only seen with our eyes, but can also be felt in the deepest parts of our spirits as it has permeated every aspect of our world today. But even though the world continues to turn, the gospel has never changed.
Culture has changed and kingdoms have risen and fallen, but Jesus has remained the same. And since the beginning of time, the Church—God’s people which make up the body of Christ—has fought to be a lighthouse in stormy and uncertain times, but not without struggle. As we look to today’s verse, we see Paul give a very firm warning against division.
Just a few verses prior (verse 12), Paul compares the body of Christ to our physical bodies. Remember, God has made each organ and extremity for a reason and a purpose. Not one part of our physical bodies is more important than the other. For example, if we lose a toe, a finger, or even a lung, our bodies would no longer be whole and working in a deficit or disability. Therefore, just as there can be no division in the human body without dysfunction, there can be no division in the body of Christ. There is no hierarchy—we’re all gifted with certain gifts that are invaluable to the proper functioning of this body.
The body of Christ can only work in harmony when each part is obedient to the function and job it’s been gifted with. As soon as this harmony is broken, that’s when division arises and the body can’t function properly.
Continuing by using the example of our human body, when our organs and cells begin to fight or work against each other, the body begins to breakdown and then symptoms will appear on the outside. The same is true for the body of Christ. As soon any sort of division or dissension sets in, external symptoms begin to appear for the world to see. And if we’re to be the reflection of Christ to the world, how can we do so with division among ourselves?
John 14:15 tells us if we love God we’ll keep His commandments. When choosing to be a follower of Christ, we’re choosing to live a life that’s characterized by obedience to the Word of God, which should be evident by our actions in our everyday lives. And this, my friend, is what keeps division from creeping into the Church—the body of Christ.
PAUSE: Why is maintaining unity such an important spiritual habit for the believer and the Church? How can you practice it in your relationships with other believers?
PRACTICE: Consider how you are (or perhaps aren’t) operating in the gifts God has given you so you can effectively serve the body of Christ.
PRAY: Dear Lord, help me to live a life in obedience to You. Help me to not place importance on certain gifts, but to realize each of us plays an equally important role to further Your kingdom. I pray I will live as a reflection of You to this very divided world we live in. Amen.