For years a physical fitness craze has swept across our nation. Today, you can purchase, for a small sum, a little plastic gadget that is guaranteed to give you a “tonier tummy”. Or, you can be aerobicized by the latest cross-country ski simulator. You can still join Richard Simmons, who turns 58 today, in his “Sweatin’ With the Oldies” exercise videos, if that is your cup of tea. Everyone has heard the news—fitness pays! There are great benefits in a well-thought-out and properly executed plan for body building.
Did you realize that God wants every Christian to be in the body building business? Building up the body of Christ, the church, should be a priority in our lives! Consider that Ephesians 4:16 says that the whole body is joined and held together by every supporting ligament and it grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Collectively, members of the body of Christ enjoy the benefit of relationships which help us grow in the Lord. Individually, each member has the responsibility to function as an industrious builder in God’s spiritual house, being careful how he builds (1 Corinthians 3:10b). Because, we are all in the body building business, we must give careful attention to becoming more effective builders. Where does this begin?
First, Christ’s kingdom is built on the rock solid foundation of Jesus Christ, Himself (1 Corinthians 3:11). There is no other suitable footing. There are so many things of human origin that get in the way. These seem to confuse the issue and create an unstable basis upon which to build. Our challenge is to both hear and heed the kingdom-call of Jesus, seeking only to be a part of what He is doing in the world.
Next, Paul indicates that the body building process involves both planting and watering the seed, that is, God’s Word (1 Corinthians 3:6). Inherent in the preceding is both message and method. The seed needs to be sown in human hearts. We must be truly convicted that the Word of God, when implanted in human hearts, can save (James 1:21). Even as Paul was willing to become all things to all men that he might by all possible means save some (1Corinthians 9:22), we must also be committed to engaging in every permissible method to broadcast this message to the world.
Finally, we must realize that God has designed the church to work together as an interdependent unit. Members of Christ’s body aren’t to have a “maverick mentality.” We don’t “go it alone!” Romans 12:5 states, “In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” God’s plan is for us to function as a body, working together as a living organism to bring about spiritual growth. Yes. The body builds itself up in love as each part does its work! We who are members of the Lord’s church all need one another! There is a sense in which the the relationships we share in the Lord can be summarized as “one anothering”. Mark Wilson has written an excellent post on his blog about this. You can read it by clicking here. Because each member has been blessed by God with special talents and abilities, every member has a vital role in the growth of the body of Christ.
Clearly, God has given us a well-thought-out plan for building the body of Christ. The question for every generation to answer is how well we will execute this plan.
© Bill Williams
July 12, 2006