The church is the Body of Christ, and we all are members of the Body; for the Lord’s move in His recovery both locally and universally, we all must be Body-conscious in one accord, always caring for the Body and doing what’s best for the Body.
When we see the Lord Jesus for the first time by the hearing of the faith, we are regenerated – we begin another life, a brand new life as a new creation; after this moment, everything is new and full of life, for Christ becomes our life and our person.
When we see a vision of the Body, when we realize that we are members of the organic Body of Christ, it’s almost like we are saved again: such a vision revolutionizes us, for we are not mere individual Christians but members of the corporate Christ to be part of His expression on earth.
When we see that we are members of the Body and that we have a function in the Body, we will desire to keep the oneness of the Spirit by practicing the one accord in our meeting, praying, deciding things, and in doing everything.
The landmark between the Gospels and the Acts is not the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, but the one accord among the disciples, which brought in the outpouring of the Spirit.
The way for us to enjoy the blessing of the Lord in His recovery is by having the one accord; the one accord is the master key to all the blessings in God’s New Testament economy.
The one accord is illustrated by Paul in Phil. 2:2 where he encouraged the believers to think the one thing and even speak the one thing; this one thing is the subjective knowledge and experience of Christ.
How can we be one as members of the Body, being Body-conscious in the one accord? It is by thinking the one thing: focusing only on knowing and experiencing Christ in a subjective way.
The way for us to keep the oneness of the Spirit is to practice the one accord (Eph. 4:3). The oneness of the Spirit is actually the Spirit Himself; if we act apart from the Spirit, we are divisive and lose the oneness. We should do nothing apart from the Spirit, for the Spirit Himself is the oneness.
We have the oneness of the Spirit in our spirit, and we can exercise to be one, being Body-conscious in the one accord. When we say, Amen! to others in prayer, we are keeping the oneness. When we pray in one accord, we keep the oneness, and we are Body-conscious.
Being Body-Conscious by Caring for the Body and doing what’s Best for the Body
As members of the Body of Christ – the universal Body of Christ – we live a daily church life in the local churches, each in the localities where the Lord has put us.
The local churches are not absolutely autonomous – rather, they are part of the Body, they are the local expression of the universal Body of Christ. As we practice the church life, we need to be Body-conscious in one accord and Body-centered in oneness.
We are not only a gathering of the ones called out by God (ekklesia, the church), but we are also an organism, the Body of Christ; if we see the Body and care for the Body, we will not cause trouble or problems in the Body. But if we don’t know the Body, we may cause turmoil in the church life, for not seeing the Body is an illness.
When brother Watchman Nee taught about the Body of Christ, he said that, with whatever we do, we have to consider how the churches would feel about it.
Whenever we do something, we need to realize that we are members of the Body, and we need to consider the Body, care for the Body, honor the Body, and do what is best for the Body (see 1 Cor. 12:12-27).
This means that we need to function in our measure in the Body, not coveting others’ function neither despising it.
On the one hand we may think that others’ function in the Body is better than ours, and we may desire to function the same way they do; this is to covet others’ function while despising yours.
On the other hand, we may despise others’ function and treasure our function too much, considering that we can do all things in the Body of Christ; this is to despise other functions while uplifting yours.
We need to realize we are only members of the Body with a function given by the Lord to build up the Body, and we need to treasure the function of each member of the Body.
We need to be Body-conscious in one accord, treasuring the function of each member, functioning in our measure, and realizing that we are limited in our function.
When we are about to do something, we need to consider the other members and even all the local churches, having a thorough fellowship both with the Lord and with one another concerning it.
The Body of Christ is a constitution of the Triune God with all the believers on the earth, with all the local churches; we need to see the Body, know the Body, and honor the Body, doing everything for the best of the Body, so that we may be Body-conscious in one accord.
Paul was a good pattern in this respect: he always cared for the other members of the Body, depended on the members of the Body, and did what is best for the Body.
We need to realize that, as members of the Body, we depend on the immediate members of the Body and on the whole Body for our living and function; this is to be Body-conscious.
Whenever we are Body-conscious in one accord, the self is ruled out. When we have the revelation of the Body and the consciousness of the Body, our individual thought and action are automatically ruled out.
Lord Jesus, show us a vision of the Body so that we may realize we are members of the Body of Christ who should function in their measure for the building up of the Body. Lord, cause us to be Body-conscious in one accord for You to build up Your Body. May we always consider the Body, care for the Body, honor the Body, and do what is best for the Body. We want to exercise our spirit and keep the oneness of the Spirit in the church life by practicing one accord. Praise the Lord, we have the oneness of the Spirit in our spirit!
Not being Independent from the Body but taking the Christ’s Feeling for the Body as our own
There cannot be an independent member in our physical body; whenever a member becomes independent, it dies and it is no longer living and active, part of the body.
In the Body of Christ there cannot be independence or individualism; we all are members of the Body, and as members we can’t live in detachment from the Body (see 1 Cor. 12:27; Rom. 12:5; Eph. 5:30).
We who are many are one Body in Christ, and individually members one of another (Rom. 12:5); as members, we can’t be individualistic but rather we depend on the other members and on the Head.
Actually, a test of whether we depend on Christ is whether we depend on the members of the Body; also, our depending on the Body should be our depending on the Lord as the Head, who is in each member.
If we see that we are members of the Body, we will treasure the Body and honor the other members of the Body, realizing that each one of them is indispensable (see 1 Cor. 12:15, 21, 23-24; Rom. 12:3; Phil. 2:29).
In 1 Cor. 16:18 Paul encouraged the saints to acknowledge and receive with love those who refresh the spirit of the saints. Based on Judges 9:9, we honor God by the Spirit – by living and walking by the Spirit, and we honor the saints by ministering the spirit to one another.
We honor God by living and walking in the Spirit, and we honor the saints by ministering the Spirit to them. Since we are members of the Body, we should have a feeling for the Body; this feeling is actually the feeling of the Head becoming our own feeling.
When Paul was in prison, he missed the saints, but he didn’t just miss them: he touched Christ and took His feeling for the saints as his feeling, and he longed for the saints in the inward parts of Christ (Phil. 1:8). The Lord’s inward parts – His inward feelings – became Paul’s inward parts and feelings.
We need to take the feeling of the Head as our own feeling for the Body, treasuring the members and caring for them with the Lord’s care for them.
Furthermore, when one member suffers, we all suffer with it, and when one member is glorified, we all rejoice with him (1 Cor. 12:25-26). This means that, in the things concerning God and the church, we need to be like-souled in the Body life, being Body-conscious in one accord to care for the things of Christ Jesus (see Phil. 2:2, 20-21; 1:8).
In considering the saints, in caring for them, and in everything we do related to them, we need to seek the Lord’s feeling and mind, and be one with His feeling to express His feeling, His thought, and His intention.
May we not care for our own things but for the things of Christ Jesus, that is, the church with all the saints.
Lord Jesus, make us persons who don’t seek our own things but the things of Christ Jesus, the church with all the saints! We want to be Body-conscious in one accord by seeking Your feeling for the Body and taking Your feeling as our feeling. Amen, Lord, may the feeling of the Head for all the members become our feeling, so that we may be Body-conscious and care for the saints according to God. Make us those who genuinely care for the things of Christ Jesus, the things concerning the church with all the saints!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Ed Marks for this week, and portions from, Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 44, “The Mystery of Christ,” ch. 98, as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Knowing Life and the Church, msg. 5 (week 5), Standing on the Unique Ground of the Church, Being under the Limitation of the Body of Christ, and Being Body-conscious in One Accord.
- Hymns on this topic:
# We’d experience Christ daily, / Him we would constantly pursue. / Our pursuing has a purpose / To build His Body is our view. / Occupy us for Your Body. / Grace supplying, You afford. / Always bearing, always caring, / By Your grace we’d be outpoured. (Song on being outpoured for the Body)
# Living in the Body, / Body life is known, / Living by the Spirit / Christ is fully grown; / By organic union / Members cultivate / Body-conscious living, / Age to consummate. (Song on the central line in the Bible)
# If we would love the Lord / And care for His unique Body, / The Lord will pour Himself out / And move within us as / The sevenfold intensified Spirit / To blend us together / For the consummation / Of the New Jerusalem. (Song on caring for the Body)