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December 4, 2023

Unified But Not Uniform

You are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

–1 Corinthians 12:27

When you look at another person, you will see they have a head and limbs and a mouth and ears. There is nothing particularly grotesque about those body parts. In fact, if that person is your mate, you probably find him or her quite attractive. So why are we repulsed by news reports showing bodies that have been torn apart by an accident or a terrorist attack? It is very simple: body parts are beautiful when they are attached and functioning properly. But when a body part has been severed from the body, it is a horrible sight.

What is true with the physical body is true with the body of Christ as well. As individual members of the body of Christ, we were not designed to operate by ourselves; we were designed by God to operate jointly. And that is what the church is all about. The church needs you, and you need the church. That is the theme of 1 Corinthians 12.

Last week in our study of 1 Corinthians, we saw that God has given you a unique spiritual gift. Just as you were born with certain natural abilities, when you were born again, God gave you a supernatural ability and desire to do ministry. And it is crucial to discover your spiritual gift. I like what theologian Findley Edge said about discovering and using your spiritual gift. He said it gives you that “eureka feeling”–in other words, when you find and begin to use your gift, you say, “This, really, is what I had rather do for God than anything else in the world.”

We do not all have the same gift, and that means we do not all enjoy doing the same things in the church–and that is okay. God made us differently. And when we all use our gifts, it helps the church function effectively. Your local body of believers will be handicapped as long as you are not effectively using your gift.

The Corinthians had two erroneous views about spiritual gifts. There were some in the church who felt like they were not needed since they did not have showy gifts like teaching or prophecy. And because they felt inferior, they began to isolate themselves and fall away from the church. But there were others in the church who had those showy gifts, and they said, “We do not need anybody else in the church. We can function effectively by ourselves.” They thought they were self-sufficient. Paul addressed both extremes by explaining how the church can be unified yet not uniform.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Unified but Not Uniform” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Findley B. Edge, “The Greening of the Church” (Waco, TX: Word Books: 1971), 141.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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