Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Do We See The Beauty Of The Bride?

The Church, the Body of Christ is such a vast and diverse creature Jesus has given birth to. Some people can only see all the faults and blemishes but that's okay because they are people who see the faults and blemishes in everything. They do not understand the purifying nature of God's grace. Just as Jesus is covering all my faults and blemishes he does the same for his Bride. He is the Groom who loves his Bride with a love we are still trying to fathom, it is so deep. He will purify his Bride, so I will not allow those faults and blemishes to hide the beauty of her heart.

When we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we were joined with this Bride, the Body of Christ, becoming a stone in the temple. We are being worked on so that we will fit into place comfortably, fitting right in there with the other stones that make up the wall. We need those other stones, the other parts of the Body and Jesus has designed great diversity in her. If you don't understand this take some time and read through 1 Corinthians 12. I need you because you have gifts that I don't have and that is the same reason you need me.

It's because of this need we have for each other to be able to function in our purpose that unity is so important to the Body. Unity is only possible when we are bound together by the love of Jesus. It is the mortar between the stones that allows us to fit and function together. This is when we see each other as equals, moving forward together in faith, hope and love. No one is more important than anyone else, just in a different function. There are no stars and we are not suppose to be exclusive but instead we are to receive from many sources. We have been given parts that are trainers in the spiritual work that we are to do. These are mentioned in Ephesians 4, the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. One is not greater than another, just fulfilling a different purpose, as servants to the Body.

As I have written before, there are no superstars in the Church and we must resist trying to turn people into one. We need to understand the vision and understanding that Paul had received about the Church and the trainers raised up in her:

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

Perhaps this takes some maturity to understand, especially if you are still at the beginning parts of your walk with Jesus. But it is important to understand that these trainers are only there to help us along in our maturity. A seed of understanding will be given by one person but then another will pour more teaching on top of it so that first seed becomes well watered, but it is the Spirit of God who opens our mind, gives us understanding and helps us to grow and change with that understanding. So God is the only star here.

It does take maturity in leadership as well to allow this to happen. I am not saying the way the Church has developed in her mentality is correct, especially in North America. A person who thinks leadership is about power should never be permitted in the place of leadership. Pastoring is about servanthood, not power and all leaders should be moving together with one purpose, never allowing jealousy to enter in. Jealousy is a terrible sign of immaturity. There is only one correct attitude to have:

The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:8-9)

So my friends, drink it all in until you feel full. A great feast has been laid out for you and you could spend the rest of your life studying all the books and teachings that have been produced by the trainers in the Church, but that is not your purpose. The training has purpose and it will not be completed if you spend all your time reading. You have to put it into practice. As James said, "Don't just read it, do it". What you are being trained in is meant to be put into practice every day. If not, we are just wasting our time attending a "school" that produces nothing but academics. If trainers allow this to happen then they too have lost sight of their purpose. But don't lose heart in any of this; our God is sovereign and will bring correction where it needs to be brought. As for you, stay strong and serve hard, for you are receiving the reward of your labour.

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