I imagine the Apostle Paul shared the same sentiment, as he wrote to the Corinthian church. Still (spiritually) young and immature, the believers struggled with comparison. To paint a mental picture for them, Paul likens the church to a body where Christ is the head and each believer a part: head, shoulders, knees, and toes. Eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. Kidney, heart, gallbladder... you get the point. All different. All significant.
Truth be told, I’m not all that different from my kids at times. Some days one scroll through Instagram can send me spiraling down the rabbit hole of comparison. The problem with comparing personalities, gifts, and passions to someone else’s is that it can only end one of two ways— leaving us feeling prideful, or filling us with shame. Neither are God’s best.
The marker of a mature believer is seeing diversity as an advantage, not a threat. Can you celebrate someone else’s gifts and strengths, while also standing on the truth that yours are also equally valuable?
If you struggle with this, you’re not alone. Chapter 12 provides some insight on how we can embrace this all-in mindset:
● The body needs you. (1 Cor. 12:15) Your gift matters. None is more important than another. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others...” (emphasis added). My grandmother is 83, and always says she doesn’t feel like she has much to offer. But that grandmother raised four adults, who raised nine grandchildren, several of whom started businesses and/or went into ministry. She also prayed me through one of the hardest seasons of my life. Whatever your role is, the body needs you to play it. Don’t fall for the lie that your bread-baking, word-typing, or on-your-knees-praying isn’t needed.
● You need the body. (1 Cor. 12:21) I hear you, friend: relationships are tough. Trying to do life together in unity with a bunch of other broken people can result in a lot of hurt and frustration. But we weren’t made to do life amputated and alone— we must be plugged into the body. If community is what hurt you, community is where you will find your healing.
● The goal is unity, not uniformity, for God’s glory and the common good. (1 Cor. 12:7) Think, for a minute, about how countercultural this is— embracing our uniqueness, instead of trying to be like everyone else or make everyone else like us. Using our strengths to serve others, not ourselves. Setting aside personal differences to come together for the advancement of the Gospel. That is good and God-glorifying. And that’s exactly the point.
In Psalm 133:1, King David wrote, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” The opposite of this is also true— “How evil and unpalatable it is when God’s people divide in disunity.”
And all the parents said, “Amen.”
When we each embrace our God-given roles and submit ourselves under the lead of the Holy Spirit, the body becomes a living, breathing, helping, glorifying picture of Jesus.
Memory Verse: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” Psalm 133:1 NIV