“So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:25–27 (NIV)
One of the smallest cells in the human body, the granule cell, is hard at work behind the very eyes you’re using to read this. This minuscule part of the body is hugely responsible for motor learning and development. It’s always interesting that something so small can manage so much and have tremendous impact on the overall health of a person.
Cells naturally divide. There’s a parent cell that divides and creates two exact duplicates of itself. Typically, these are healthy cells that also divide, then those cells divide, and so on and so on. Each cell has its own duty, and when it performs as it should the body thrives. However, when cells divide uncontrollably, the body suffers.
I suggest God designed the human body—each and every cell, every tissue, every organ—to model for us the lesson Paul narrates in his letter to the church in Corinth. You see, we’re all like this small cell. Of course, not in a literal sense, but in the body of Christ. Just as the human body contains many elements, so does the body of Christ. And each portion is equally important as the one adjoining it. They function together to make the body whole and well.
In this portion of his letter to the church, Paul presents the gifts of the Spirit and the different ministries within the body of Christ. He lists these gifts and ministries in no particular order of importance, but what’s key is he affirms that although the body is made up of many members, they all work together; we were all baptized by the same Spirit into one body (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).
So, suffering, equal concern, and rejoicing are all part of functioning as the body of Christ. Division in the body of Christ should duplicate itself. But when there is uncontrolled division, a problem occurs, a tumor of sorts. When cells perform their duties and obey the instruction of their parent cell, all goes well. Likewise, when the body of Christ obeys the Father and operates according to the gifts given to them, the body of Christ thrives. In Luke 11:17 (NIV), Jesus confirms this saying, “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.”
Just as our bodies are the Lord’s temple, so too is the body of Christ—and we should glorify God through it.
PAUSE: Read through and study 1 Corinthians chapter 12. Notice in verse 7 how Paul says the gifts of the Spirit are for the “common good.”
PRACTICE: To recognize if we are divided, we must lean into what the Lord teaches about division and operate within the framework He established. If you or someone you know is causing division, do your utmost to root out that weakness through truth, love, and prayer.
PRAY: Lord, Your heart is made clear in Scripture as to how You feel about division. Father, I ask that clarity and spirit of unity be manifest within the body of Christ: within homes, local churches, and globally. May the gifts You give me be used according to Your will and power, Lord, not my own. And may they work for the common good of Your Church and for Your glory. For Your sake, Jesus, I pray. Amen.