Day 23: “But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” (1 Cor 12:18-20)
These verses ended up catching my eye as I read my One Year Bible a few years back. But their message had really been brewing in my heart and mind for quite a while before; the idea that God calls us each to live for Him in different ways. My Christian walk will not look like someone else’s and that is okay. Not only it is okay but it is important and very biblical. There should be no cookie-cutter Christians! Read the whole passage from 1 Corinthians 12 on unity and diversity in the body of Christ here.
So why was this concept so enlightening to me once I really began to fully understand what this passage from 1 Corinthians 12 meant? I think because before that I had been putting God into a box (both consciously and unconsciously) as far as how He is able to work in and through people. I guess I had come to believe that everyone needed to interact with God similarly and have the same theology and worship in the same way and then we would really be unified as the body of Christ. But that is definitely not what this passage says.
I would also often compared my Christian life to that of others around me, which is never a good thing. If I saw my Christianity looking different from the Christian life of someone I admired, then I would feel like I was doing something wrong in my life. This created an unhealthy feeling of resentment towards them and an underlying sense in me that I could never measure up.
But as I grew older, attending different denominations and working with different para-church organizations, I saw that they all just emphasized different aspects of God in their own way while still having the same basic concept of who He is. That this is what was meant by unity in the body of Christ.
I can’t compare myself to others either by judging their walk harshly or else somehow thinking less of mine in any way. But to realize each person needs to live out God’s unique calling for their life as they see fit and that I should do so as well. My Christian walk should be one that is true to who God has made me to be and how I hear Him speaking into my life.
I’d like to say that I have never struggled in this area again but that would not be true. However, being in different small groups at my church and really getting to know the heart these people have towards God while also realizing we have conflicting views in some areas has actually been very refreshing for me. Not to say it wasn’t a bit unsettling for me at first but I have come to cherish our differences as part of belonging to a healthy body of Christ. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Cor 12:27)
So what part of this body do I play? I am not entirely sure yet but, as I wrestle with that question, I can celebrate that I am a necessary and uniquely created one.
“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” (1 Cor 12:18-20)