I’ve exercises to make my left leg stronger and many excuses to avoid them, but the target of being better able to run and play team football can trump excuses and strengthen my resolve to exercise. I have other body-building routines to keep my tummy size in check and feel fit. Physio tells me that, along with good diet, an upright posture gives best results. But so set is my bent gait, I don’t value a flatter tummy enough to straighten and sook my stomach in all the time.
Positive posture and self-image are important, but their danger is infatuation with ‘self’ and ‘selfish introversion’, preventing us from living a happy outward looking life of Love. Reading Bible passages about ‘spiritual gifts’ and ‘building up the Body of Christ’ conjures up three images of ‘Body Building’ at work in Christian circles.
“Look At Me!” Church Families which are all about ‘attracting people and building themselves up in prestige and drawing power’. We claim it’s all about ‘Jesus’ but it’s really all about ‘my church and our way of doing things’.
“See Me Out!” Church Families which are about keeping things the way they’ve always been. There’s still an energy in worship, but the preoccupation is with doing things ‘the way We like’, with little thought to connect with people unlike us. ‘Seeing me out of this world into the next’ is more important than ‘seeing others into God’s Kingdom’.
“Less of Me, More of Jesus!” Church Families are ‘servant hearted’, with a DNA of service and sacrifice, which takes them into the world ready to be spent in blessing others and pointing people to Jesus. They talk about ‘God’s Kingdom’ much more than their denomination or own kirk and are keen to work with other churches.
All three try to build up ‘The Body of Christ’, but for what? Which will be the loving, caring, sharing, healing, soul-saving Jesus to neighbours, colleagues, friends, family, enemies?
“Jesus handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.
…. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.” (Ephesians 4:11-16 / MSG)
We all have spiritual gifts God wants to build Jesus Body up with and bless the World through through humble service and sacrifice. How’s that going for you?