Perhaps in recent weeks, months, or years you have, like me, been wondering where your place is in all the work that still needs to be done regarding the reunification of humanity. Sometimes, when we have a particular burden on our hearts, God is calling us to be the very answer we wish existed to the problem(s) we observe. Other times, we are so busy expending our energy and efforts in the various areas we feel drawn to that we bypass the vacant spaces that await our awakening to God’s call on our lives to fill them. God’s purpose for the body of Christ is to be the example to a hurting world of what unity is and how His love is to be effectively expressed.
I found myself drawn to the passage that we will study together today. My hope is that, through our deeper exploration of this passage, we can better identify the unique part each of us can play in the larger charge to be the light of the world and embody the love of Jesus through our unique gifts, imparted by the Holy Spirit. The way that we operate in our gifting is how we honor God and bring glory to His name. While this is a popular passage within the church for its identification of spiritual gifts, one additional lens has been used to help us broaden our scope of the message Paul shares. For anyone unfamiliar with him, Paul is one of the New Testament (NT) leaders, called apostles. The heading of the passage in question, “Unity and Diversity in the Body,” already speaks volumes in itself. Let’s dive right in.
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There are many instances in the Bible where God makes it clear that He is well acquainted with the heart of humanity. In His choosing of David over all of his other brothers. In His acceptance of Abel’s gift over Cain’s. God is no respecter of persons and He makes it abundantly clear that living a life of honorable service to Him is primarily a heart issue. With this understanding of the God who created the universe, who exists outside of time, and has all power in His being; Shouldn’t we be able to trust Him at His word?
The short answer is yes. However, our thoughts and behavior often show otherwise, complicating what God originally intended to be a simple solution to address our needs. You may be familiar with the quotable found on many t-shirts, mugs, and other collectable items: “Keep Calm and…” The end of that statement has an extensive list of suggested things, people, and places to put your faith in. Yet, every believer is aware, to some degree, that the only true source of stability that we can put our trust in is God. This year, 2020, has quite rudely interrupted the norms that humanity has created for ourselves and made it abundantly clear that many of the things, people, and places we have put our faith in are not able to hold us up when life takes an unexpected turn.
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If you have ever been angry with someone or about something and then reacted in a way that you regretted afterward, then you can understand the importance of taking time to think things through (in observance of the wisdom of Proverbs 19:2). However, just as it is important to observe a “cool-off” period, it is equally important not to let so much time pass that the purpose of addressing the issue is diminished (Ephesians 4:26). God, the author and perfecter of time, provides a blueprint for how to address difficult issues with reasoning and accountability while still loving those He confronted. As I read through the popular bible story, commonly referred to as “The Curse,” I gleaned a few life lessons and made some interesting observations regarding how God went about addressing a difficult issue with Adam and Eve. Let’s take a closer look.
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In the biblical story of the garden of Eden, we are introduced to the scene of the serpent starting a conversation with the woman we now know as Eve. He begins their discourse with a question:
“Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 2:1 NKJV)
Let’s pause there for a moment. Whether they were already speaking before this or not is unknown, but, either way, something about the question foreshadows the serpent’s intent. He brings up a topic that involves a third party who is not present.
Lesson #1: Be wary of people who gossip. Godly community does not entertain hearsay.
Sounds simple enough. Let’s continue…
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