I admit in a previous article how I grew up most of my life being afraid of the dark. I admit now, even though it's not to the intensity that it was in my childhood, that I still have fear in darkness! I feel really apprehensive walking the 10 feet from my car to the front door when their is no moon because I'm afraid their is a mountain lion lying in wait to eat me. Or a burglar wanting my money or something. I unlock the door as quickly as possible, shut it tight behind me and then I proceed to turn on as many lights to make me feel assured of my safety in my home. I don't understand why I usually need 3 or 4 on, but it just doesn't seem enough to have just one light on when I'm by myself.
I think the reason is because there is safety in numbers, and we all know that. And it needs to be the same with us in our journey of living in the light.
One of the most apparent things I now notice when I am tending to let dark spots in my life reign is I become more isolated. This is best exemplified my first year on staff, or, as I like to call it, when I was in the "vortex of doom." During this time, I had a difficult time opening up to others. I was more than willing to open up with Malcolm (who was my boyfriend/fiance during that year) but even then I knew I didn't have the fellowship I needed.
I believed the lie that Erin, who had discipled me in college, would just try to fix me so I shouldn't talk to her. I believed the lie that I shouldn't look like a bad Christian to my accountability group, because then they would tell my boss and get me kicked off staff. Around the time of my engagement, I was realizing how, with my mom being deceased, that I had a lot of questions for her I couldn't ask. I didn't have anyone of "mom" status where I was, and I felt like I would be a burden to others for being there for me. I felt so alone and abandoned, and I can honestly say that those lies drove me more into the vortex of doom than all the others lies I was believing at the time.
Even thinking about that time now, my heart aches! It was a painful, lonely time that just didn't have to be that way if I would have let God bring people in to shed light to the lies I was believing.
We were created to be in community with others. If God wanted us to be lone rangers, He would had us reproduced through mitosis or something. But from the beginning we see that God WANTS us together with others. We make up the body of Christ together and we have to rely on each other.
1 Corinthians 12 speaks about how we need each other as the Body of Christ.
I think there are 3 main points from this passage about our interactions ass the Body of Christ.
1. Though you may or not feel like it, you are a part of the Body of Christ.
Verse 15 says, "If the foot should say, 'Because I'm not an eye, I don't belong to the body,' in spite of this it still belongs to the body." Could you imagine if all our body parts could speak? What if they started complaining and comparing themselves to other body parts? Could you imagine your foot actually telling you, "Well, Leah, I just don't feel like I really belong here. Everybody talks about how useful the hands are and all that they accomplished this week. I just don't think I connect well with this body - I'm just so different! I just have different interests. I like YOU, of course, but I think I should get connected elsewhere."
That's just silly, right? Of course, talking feet in general is silly, but the fact your foot would want to leave is ridiculous because it really can't - literally - leave your body. I, as the head, would have to respond with, "Well, Lefty, I'm sorry but you can't leave! You've been with me from the beginning, so you can't leave. But even if you could, I wouldn't want you to leave anyway. You DO have such a vital part to this body! If it's not for you, I couldn't get to campus to the voice can share the gospel, so the hands can draw these diagrams during discipleship appointments, so the eyes can see the people to pray for - your role is important! And I can guarantee the rest of the body is thankful for you too! You may be closer to the ankles and legs, but the rest of the body needs you too."
You know, we often act like the foot, don't we? Comparing ourselves to others in the Body of Christ throwing ourselves a little pity party saying how we don't belong. Regardless of our feelings or the circumstances we may find ourselves in, we BELONG! We are attached to the Body, and Jesus, Who is the head, is telling you, "Dear child, you play an important role in this body. Before the foundations of the earth I knew you! I'm sorry you may want to leave, but you can't. We need you so that others around you can know about me, so that all you do reflects me, and so you can pray for the world you live in. And you need to do these things with the specific talents I have given you."
2. Though different and unique, we all need each other.
Verses 21 -22 say, "So the eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!' nor again the head say to the feet, 'I don't need you!' on the contrary, all the more, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary."
Just like we can't cut ourselves from the Body of Christ, we also can't cut others out either. Again, imagine with me if your eyes started ragging on your hands and wanting to kick them out. I would go, "What are you doing? I need my hands! I find them very useful." My eyes can give me every excuse for their actions and every reason for why my hands should be cut off, saying, "The bible does say, Leah, that if you hand causes you to sin you should cut it off. And the hands have been EXTREMELY unclean lately! They help clean up the Netherlands - which is great and all, because they need the help - but they don't wash themselves after their efforts! And then they have been making attempts to helping us during allergy season. They mean well, bless their hearts, but they just can't keep doing this! We have been patient, but we're not sure how much more we can take of them."
We can do the same thing - instead of seeing the best, we take too much personal offense. Instead of having the same patience Christ showed us, we have limited amounts. Like it says in Galatians 6, we need to bear one another's burdens and gently restore those who are wrong. Let us see the best in each other and TELL each other the best as well! Let's compliment each other, speak the truth in love and persevere through each other's sins we walk into - because we all are honestly a work in progress.
3. How you are doing is how we're doing.
Verse 26 says, "So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it."
I was thinking about this the other day with my monthly cycle restarted with a vengeance. Only one part of my body was severely suffering, but the rest of my body felt it too! The whole body was laid out in pain, just because of one small part of my body was hurting. But I'm also thinking of it right now as I write, too, how when I drink delicious warm drink on a windy day, my whole body relaxes and rejoices for the deliciousness of hot coffee and tea!
Working with girls one-on-one all week for whole school years, and then, for some of them, for their whole college career, I've definitely seen this principle work itself out. When they fail majorly in sin or go through difficult situations or deal with the pain in their past - I feel it too! I remember one gal I worked with a while back who walked into sin, and for weeks my heart was heavy and burdened for her - not because I was disappointed in her or angry with her. But she was broken, so I was broken too. But I've also had opportunity to rejoice with those who rejoice! I weep right now reflecting on the joys I've gotten to share in - this school year I got to lead my first person to Christ where I was absolutely sure it was for real for her, I got to see 3 ladies who I dearly love get engaged and prepare for their weddings, and I got to see breakthroughs with girls that I thought didn't even want to follow Jesus at the beginning of the year. Praise God I get to be involved in lives! For both the joys and the sorrows, I WANT to be there!
And if it weren't for those who walked through my joys and sufferings with me (way more tears!) I don't know where I would be today! Thank you Erin H, Erin M, Hedy, Kayle, Rhonda, Angi, Laura, Denise, Esther, Linda - I could go on and on!!! I wish I could just list all the people on my staff team, all the ladies in my bible study, all the older girls in college I looked up to, all the roommates I had, all the students who I consider dear friends - but I've already spoke too long! But the long and short of it is that I am so thankful for the people in my life that have been there through thick and thin with me.
Dear reader, living as an active member of the Body of Christ has been the most rewarding and freeing in my life. That's why I have been spending so much time on writing this out, because I have a huge heart for you all to have freedom in what God has called you to as well. The next article will be 7 steps to being an active body by shining light in each other's life.
Leah works with Master Plan Ministries at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. Other than watching college students' lives change, she enjoys getting her mind blown by God and His Word, watching sci fi, baking cupcakes, and spending time with her hunky husband.
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