“To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues”(1 Cor 8-10).
These manifestations are given by the Spirit for the common good, as He determines, to each one (v7 & v11). We make up the “each one” to form the various parts of the body of Christ (“...you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” v27). Your place in the body is a strategic move on God’s part, (“in fact, God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be” v18). No matter what role you have, whether it be teacher (mouth), prophet (eyes), healer (hands), greeter (smile), cleaner (hands and knees!), baby toe etc. you are so important: "
The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ The head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable...” (21 & 22)
And we are called to unite and to have equal concern for each part (v25). How? LOVE. Even if we “speak in the tongues of angels…fathom all mysteries and knowledge….move mountains with our great faith”….we are NOTHING without love (1 Cor. 13: 1-3).
“Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Cor. v7).
Truly loving others as God so loved us, is achieving perfection: “Love never fails…prophesies will cease, tongues will be stilled, knowledge will pass away…but when perfection comes the imperfect will disappear” v8-10.
The bar has been set: “Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). But can we ever really achieve perfection? “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” Phil 3:12).
Although perfect love may not be within our grasp, it is the goal. Know that as a part of one body of Christ, you are critical in God’s game plan. Your greatest calling is to love as God so loved us, “that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17).
Love the greater body, each part, those that seem weaker, those that appear “better than,” to be of one mind as there is one Spirit, so as to reflect God’s perfect love to the world.
Take some time today to reflect on love - God's love, and how you can, in turn, reflect that to the world.
- Rina Carbol