This is a five part series. You can begin here, but you might like to read it in order. If so, then begin with Part 1, followed by Part 2, then naturally Part 3 would be next and then Part 4 would be the post just prior to this one!
Each Member’s Role In The Body Of Christ
Each believer is a member of the body of Christ and as a member that means they have certain responsibilities and roles to fulfill. One of those responsibilities includes discovering their gift and operating in it so that they benefit the body of Christ. Paul specifically addressed the Corinthians in this regard because of the confusion and division that existed in the church. Much of this disunity found its origin in the misuse of the varying gifts by the members. In 1 Corinthians 12:12 Paul brings to their attention that they have a responsibility to first of all “operate in unity.” Disunity in the body of Christ brings confusion, and Paul stresses that God is not the author of confusion. Disunity is most likely the result of envy and strife within the body. James 3:15 states: “where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” This was the condition of the Corinthian church. As members of the body we must function in unity of the Spirit.
Second, each member of the body has to realize that they perform a unique function that contributes to the common good of the body. It is important to realize that each believer is a member of the body, no matter what their function or their assessment of the value of their function and they must understand that variety is important for the sake of the body to be a body. No one wants two “left feet!” Each member has a unique gift that God has given them. “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10 — NAS). For each believer there is some particular “gift,” to be bestowed by the already indwelling Spirit, to make each believer a direct benefit to the body of Christ.”
Third, it is important for each member to see that their place in the body is a result of “God’s activity” not their own desires. In 1 Corinthians 12:18 the scriptures state that “…God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” It’s not because a member of the body thinks they are something special, but God has placed the gift in the member or part of the body to be used to benefit the body. The member of the body is where they are because of what God has done, not what they have done.
The fourth role of the members is that they recognize their “interdependence” with the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:21). We need each other. No man is an island! Each member needs the other members. Some may not like it, but that’s the way God designed it.
A fifth role is that each member should suffer with the suffering and rejoice with those rejoicing (I Corinthians 12:25-26). God has arranged the members in such a way that there should be no division in the body, and that there would be equal concern for each member so that if one suffers, all suffer and if one rejoices all rejoice.
The final role of each member is to use their gift to benefit others (1 Peter 4:10). Each member’s part in the body is not for their benefit…it is for the benefit of the whole body. A member is to use what God has given them to make the body better.
There is great responsibility when we belong to a body of people. It’s not any different when we are a part of the body of Christ. In fact, it is even more vital that we really understand who we are. If someone professes to be a Christian, a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, they are a part of His body, the church. They shouldn’t take that position lightly. The good of the whole is more important than the good of the individual. But as an individual we must fulfill our part as a member to help the body function properly.
Reflective questions you might ask yourself as you strive to find your place in this “supernatural” body are: What am I doing to build up the body of Christ? What am I doing to bring unity to the church both local and across the world? Am I functioning in the gift that God has called me to? Am I fulfilling my role in the Body? Am I allowing Christ to direct me? Answering these questions truthfully and humbly will bring us closer to being the member we should be in the “body of Christ.”