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Monday, January 22, 2018

Learning My Purpose Through Serving and Relationships

In review of Romans 12:4-5 it says, “We are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. . . . Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we?” (The Message).

Bottom Line:
We find our meaning and function as part of the body

What this means to me:
God has given me different gifts for doing certain things well. So I am to obediently use it serve the greater church body (in relationship) and make a difference in the world. In doing so, I will find my meaning and function in this world.

Today’s passage comes from the first part of Romans chapter 12. Paul starts by pleading with me to learn to give myself and my body to God because of all he has done for me. Let my life be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way for me to worship him (with my life dedicated to him). I shouldn't try to copy the behavior and customs of this world, but rather let God transform me into a new person, by changing the way I think. Then I will learn to know God's good, pleasing and perfect will.

I should not think more highly or better than I really am. Be honest in my evaluation of myself, measuring myself by the faith God has given me. Just as my body has many parts each with a special function, so it is with Christ's body. Collectively we become many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So when God give a gift, I need to use it serve.

God has made it clear that obedience from my heart is important. God wants me to offer myself up daily, laying aside my own desires, in order to truly follow him. I put all my energy and resources at his disposal and trust him to guide me. I do this out of gratitude that my sins have been forgiven.

Paul used the concept of the human body to teach me how I should live and work together with other Christians. Just as the parts of the body function under the direction of the brain, so Christians are to work together under the command and authority of Jesus Christ.

God gave me gifts so that I can help build up his church and my work environment. In order to use them effectively, I must (1) realize that all gifts and abilities come from God; (2) understand that not everyone has the same gifts; (3) know who I am and what I do best; (4) dedicate my gifts to God's service and not my personal success; (5) be willing to utilize my gifts wholeheartedly, not holding back anything from God's service.

Given this, I only learn who I am in relationships. I only learn my true identity in community. I’ll never learn who I am by myself. I’ll only learn it in relationships. That means I must connect with others for fellowship. If I had lived my entire life to adulthood with no human contact, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea who or what I am. I learn your identity by being in relationships.

The Bible says we need to be connected to God’s family, the Body of Christ: “We are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. . . . Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we?” (Romans 12:4-5 The Message).

For example, my ear only functions and fulfills its purpose by being connected to my body. If my ear were cut off and lying on the ground, what’s the value of it? Nothing, because it can’t hear anything. Same goes with my nose and eyes: If they’re not connected to my body, what’s their purpose? They don’t have a purpose, because they can’t smell or see anything by themselves.

In the same way, if I’m not connected to the Church, then I’m not going to know the purpose of my life. I’m not going to know my role. I’m not going to know my function. I’m not going to know my value and my meaning.

My value, my use, my purpose, and my identity become apparent in relationship to the Body of Christ — the Church.

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