Do You Know Where You Belong in the Body of Christ
God has a reason for everything He does and has done. Most Christians tend to shun the Old Testament, but as the Apostle Paul said, the Old Testament is the natural and the New Testament is the Spiritual (I Corinthians 15:46). In order to understand many of the spiritual messages of the New Testament, we must understand the natural side of it as demonstrated in the Old Testament. In Genesis Chapter 1 God created man. [Then God said, "1:26, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…; 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Fast-forwarding to the New Testament we find that God’s Church, aka the Body of Christ, resembles the natural body. Let me explain this a little further. First of all we know that the head of the body of Christ is the Christ Himself. We, the Church make up the rest of the body as described in Romans Chapter 12.
Rom 12:4 For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use,
Rom 12:5 So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another].
Rom 12:6 Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He whose gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith;
In studying the natural body we discover that the body is made up of many cells that form the individual parts of the body i.e., legs, arms, eyes, ears, heart, lungs, etc. Going back to the beginning when a sperm merges with an ovum, it forms what is called a zygote. This “zygote” contains in it everything needed in order to form a fully developed baby. It has cells for every organ, every limb, etc. The cell begins to divide by mitosis and develops into a new organism (a baby). Each of those cells that are dividing contains the same exact DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) and within the DNA there are genes that contain instructions for making specific proteins. These proteins determine what each cell will become as it divides and develops. It determines which cells will be eyes, skin, arms so on and so forth.
Now let’s look at the body of Christ. The body of Christ is made up of individual members (parts/organs) as shown in Romans 12:4-6. Picture each individual Christian as a cell (like a human cell). The moment you accepted Christ as Savior you were baptized into His body and His and the Father’s DNA was injected into you. That same exact DNA is found in EVERY born again believer. What is different is the specific proteins that the genes within the DNA are making. Spiritually the genes are like the Holy Spirit because the genes develop the proteins that determine what you will become. The specific proteins themselves are like the different measures of grace that each of us receives. As Romans 12:6 states ‘our gifts (what part of the body we are) differ according to the grace given us.’ So some may receive the measure of grace needed to be a Pastor, someone else may have the measure of grace needed to be an intercessor, a deacon, a Teacher, one gifted in hospitality or a praise and worship leader. The body of Christ, just as the human body, is developed in such a unique way that everything must flow together in order for the body to function properly. No individual member of the body (just like no member of the natural body) can decide to go off by itself and do its own thing because when that happens the body develops diseases such as cancer and lupus (with lupus the cells attack one another wreaking havoc in the body). These diseases causes the body not to function properly and they must be healed or removed so that the body can function normally again.
Now, as a baby matures through the years, you are able to see more clearly what that baby will look like as a full grown adult; and it is the same in the body of Christ. As each individual member (cell) develops, you should be able to recognize what it is developing into (such as an Evangelist, a singer, a gifted warrior, etc.). It depends on the individual rate of growth in Christ but if you are growing on schedule a picture of who you are should begin to emerge. If there is no growth at all or if the growth is extremely slow then I would advise you to return back to the starting point and recommit your life to Christ and get in the Word of God. Our growth comes through the Word of God and prayer or communing with God continually. If you do not feed a baby it will starve to death and it is the same for a new born babe in Christ.
1Pe 2:1 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord's kindness.
I encourage each of you to search yourselves and determine where you are with your growth in Christ and your positioning in the body of Christ. We all have an identity and a destiny to fulfill in Him and if you are not measuring up to what you were created to be, then you cannot fulfill your destiny.
In conclusion, I leave you with these Scriptures that sum up the meaning of this teaching:
Ephesians 4:14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of His body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Excerpt taken from Randolph Barnwell Firstborn Sonship:
Identity reveals destiny. Identity relates to who you ARE; destiny involves what you DO. Who you ARE reveals what you should DO. You will never know what to do until you understand who you are. Actually, you need to BE what you are called to DO. Embodiment of Divine nature is in essence an assertion not just of ‘BEING’ but empowerment and authorization to ‘DO’. Gideon saw the Lord as ‘Jehovah Shalom’ – ‘The Lord is Peace’; He was transformed into the nature of God he saw and became the embodiment of peace (Judges 6:23,24). This was very essential for him, because this nature of peace was his authority to defeat the Midianites, which means ‘strife’. Peace destroys strife (Is. 9:6; 32:18; Rom 16:20). Dethroning strife (Midian) was his destiny, but to do so, he had to become the very nature of God, ‘peace’ (identity) - designed to overthrow it. First BE, then … Doing will flow effortlessly and authoritatively.