Read with me, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:16
Every member of the body serves a different function. Just as the physical eye cannot do the job of the heart, and the lungs cannot do the job of the eyes, so we each have our own work purposed for us individually. Each and every part serves a different purpose, magnificently designed to function perfectly and effectively. The varying parts of the body are designed to complement each other, not hinder each other. This holds true for the body of Christ; we were designed to work together, held together by the fibre of His perfect love for us. *see 1 Corinthians 12
Discord is a cancer to the body of Christ. When there is enmity between brothers, the body suffers. When we look and others and judge them based on what we see, we cause disruption and decay. Today, I want to draw your attention to 1 Corinthians 5:16, “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” Regard no one according to the flesh! Not according to their flesh, or yours. It is so detrimental to the body of Christ when we allow others to bleed because of our misguided judgments. We have a hurting bride, a body burdened by the chains of oppression; prison sentences brought on by failure to meet prerequisite standards stipulated by church culture. Look at your local church. Do you know who stacks the chairs on a Sunday? Do you know who unlocks before and locks up after every service? Do you know the person operating the media and sound equipment? I want to challenge the way we view people in general. I have a burning passion to challenge the worldly consumer dominated culture that has infiltrated the body. We need to see well. We need to see. We need to seek Him in those around us. Seek out parts of the body you would not normally consider, get acquainted with His traits again, dismissing fame and notoriety. Regard every person you see at church (or the supermarket etc.), and see.
Regard them as alive in Christ. Look at them as a part of yourself that need caring and nurturing just as you would give to your very own body. Referencing the function of a body, life comes from the inside; we live from the inside out. We do not allow circumstances to inform us of anything, we trust the word of God, written and spoken. According to the work of the Spirit in us, we work out our own Salvation with fear, not that of another. Powerless people are tossed about by ideas and opinion, allowing circumstances to dictate their view of their brethren. You cannot allow a person’s momentary lapses, or their materialistic standing to inform your opinion of them. Let the Spirit empower you to see them as He sees them.
God has given us a Spirit, not of fear, but of power, love and self-control. The sequential significance of this verse always speaks to my heart. Not fear, but POWER. God wants us to live powerfully. When dealing with the body, we do not induce fear, but power. We do not use fear as a tool to bring about repentance, or change. We do not introduce the very substance of death (fear), in order to create awareness of Life. We bring Christ, and we boast in each other (1Cor 5v12), because I am powerful in God whether you behave or not. We operate in a Spirit of power, a Spirit of Love, and a Spirit of self-control. We are reminded that we received not other person control, but SELF control. Manipulation and control are tools for powerless people. They are the hallmarks of reactionary living, signifiers of the need to control outcomes of other people’s actions and beliefs in order to feel powerful. The opposite of living powerfully is living as a victim. But, we are not powerless. In light of this gift of the Spirit I want to urge you to live according to the theme of freedom. Live unbothered by people’s failures, and be untethered by their opinions. Let love win.
The measure of true devotion in a relationship is not what you do with and to the other person, but what you do with you. How do you behave? How do you speak? What do you allow yourself to believe about them? This is a significantly integral part of ministry; elevating people. We carry on His work by bringing people awareness of Him, not promoting self; we do not encourage the realization of how insignificant they are, but how amazing He is. We preach the completed work of Christ, not the insufficient efforts of the flesh. We bring to light the fact that He makes them powerful, and their power is not found in ability to abstain from sin. We minister life and hope found in Him alone. No man can do what He does on the inside of His own.
Because we live from the inside out, we start with us. Life as if you are loved and forgiven. Live free. The work that God has started in your life, HE started in YOU. So live from the inside out, and let Him finish what He started.