In his fighter verse discussion about 1 Corinthians 13:4 this week Pastor James asked the question, “Does this describe YOU?” The Scriptural connection that comes to my mind from the description about love always seems to be to Ephesians 4. It takes the foundation of love described in 1 Corinthians 13 and builds on it the application of how love would appear in our lives as believers.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3).
As Paul continues in Ephesians 4, he reminds us of the basis for our standing as believers:
“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
Paul takes this principle further. As a result of the basis he presents in verses 4-6, we are all considered necessary parts of the body of the church. It is the interaction of all of us that enables us to mature, and to fulfill the purpose of the church. Just as we wouldn’t allow a part of our physical body to intentionally restrict or injure another part of our own body, we shouldn’t restrict or injure another part of our church body.
Paul summarizes his thoughts in Ephesians 4 with the following instructions:
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Like many principles we must follow, sometimes they seem to be easier said than done. Many of God’s instructions through the Bible can be simple to understand, yet difficult to follow due to our human nature.
I think there are a couple of behaviors that can help us in showing the entire body love and help it to operate more smoothly.
1) Appreciate yourself and your own abilities
We are blessed with different abilities and personalities. We all have value to the body of believers. There are things we do well, and things we don’t. We often tend to feel that we are lacking because we can’t do everything, or at least something that we wish we could. Realize that God loves you. Recognize what you can do well and what contributions you can make, and serve the church with them.
2) Appreciate others and their abilities
Just like we are blessed with certain abilities and personalities, others are blessed with a different combination of them. Sometimes we see what others can do and feel either inadequate or jealous. Sometimes it might cause us to feel superior because someone else can’t do something we can. Looking at others in the body with love helps to conquer these feelings. Legs are visible and important to our physical body, but if we had five of them and no liver or pancreas we wouldn’t be able to survive.
I am thankful that we are all different and supply different strengths to the church. Love yourself because you are God’s child and Christ’s brother or sister. Love your fellow believers because they are God’s children and Christ’s brothers or sisters. It’s all part of being a part of the body of Christ.
Take heart and be encouraged!