Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.Colossians 3:12-14 NIV
The Body of Christ
God’s chosen people is the most inspiring name for believers in the Bible. It calls out our origin story and our eternal identity. We are God’s idea and His workmanship. He chose us and He shapes us. On earth we carry the name of Christ and many believers throughout the centuries have lived up to that high calling as disciples, followers of Christ.
They believed on Him, accepted His teachings as divine revelation and truth and cooperated with the Holy Spirit as He shaped and molded them into the image of Christ. As Christians they lived lives that brought glory to God. Showing us that it’s possible to display the character of Christ and to live in unity with fellow believers.
Something Beyond Unity
This week in Episode #33 of Divine Connections, which is Part 5 of a 7 part series, I share the word that defines our relationship with others in the Body of Christ ~ alongside. In the quote from Colossians there’s a list of beautiful attitudes, Christ-like attitudes of kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. These make possible the forbearance and forgiveness we’re commanded to show toward others. And love binds them all together in a perfection of unity. But there is more. There is something beyond unity of purpose and belief.
There is a call for us to each use the gifts given to us by God to build up and nurture each other in the Body of Christ. In Romans 12:4-8 we read,
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: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
I mentioned in the podcast that part of the long hiatus was due to my sister’s cancer diagnosis, surgery and chemotherapy. I’m her medical support person and yet, I’m by no means the only support she has. God has surrounded her with a group of women who support her, love her, share her trials and bear her burdens. It’s been a beautiful display of the body of Christ, animated by the Holy Spirit, caring for one of its own and demonstrating the love of God for her. These women have been there for my sister. And they generously use their spiritual gifts to minister to her.
In a thousand ways they let her know she is not alone in her trial. She is supported spiritually and physically, emotionally and mentally by their calls and texts, their hugs and casseroles. And they are there for each other as well.
Early every morning a text thread of encouragement and prayer, of exhortation and praise pings on my phone. They stay connected to one another and in the loop of what’s happening in each other’s lives.
Their love is tangible and consistent. And it’s beautiful, holy and the purest expression of God’s intention for our interactions in the Body of Christ.
Do Your Share
Paul tells us in Ephesians 4 to grow up in all things into Him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined together by what every joint supplies,
Paul says, that happens when . . . every part does its share. And that causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
What’s your share? What’s your spiritual gift?
I’ve found over my more than 50 years that the greatest satisfaction and blessing in my spiritual life happens when I do my share. It effectively connects me to my fellow believers and to my God. It keeps me focused on eternal things and on the people I’ll be sharing eternity with. And it keeps me growing in love as a part of the Body of Christ as we wait for Him.
Next time you’re in church look around and offer a silent prayer for eyes to see who you can serve by using your gift. If you’d like to know more about spiritual gifts see 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4.
Below is a link to a message on spiritual gifts by Pastor Chuck Smith, the founding Pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.
You can find me on Instagram @kellygrace