As members of the Body of Christ standing on the genuine ground of oneness, we must be limited by the other members, not going beyond our measure, for God has placed all the members of the Body even as He willed, and we each have our own function and measure.
On the one hand, we need to be clear concerning the genuine ground of oneness, the ground of the church, and stand on this ground; on the other hand, we need to realize that we are members of the Body and we should function in our measure for the building up of the church.
The building up of the Body of Christ in the local churches is the goal of God’s economy, and it is also the goal of the Lord’s recovery. The local church is not the whole Body of Christ – it is a local expression of the one universal Body of Christ.
We need to be increasingly conscious of the Body so that we may honor the Body and care for the Body as we function in our measure in the Body.
Just as in our human body, the head directs each member of the Body what to do, and no member can do everything – rather, each member is limited in its function, and each member is limited by the whole body.
The growth of the Body of Christ is limited by the life developing in us to build up the Body, and for us to build up the Body of Christ in the local churches we need to realize we are members of the Body and therefore we have a function and a limit in our function.
It is crucial to know that we all are limited as members of the Body.
It is not hard to know that we are believers in Christ or sons of God, for these are aspects of us individually being such ones. But it is crucial to realize that we are members – we are not complete units but part of something bigger, part of the Body of Christ.
There will come a time when, under the Lord’s shepherding, we will know that we are members, and we will realize that we cannot live without the Body of Christ. Just as the members of our physical body cannot live without the life of our body, so we cannot live without the Body.
God has Placed all the Members of the Body as He Willed – Each Member has a Function
The one who decides our function in the Body is God: God has placed all the members of the Body even as He willed (1 Cor. 12:18), and each one of us have a function in the Body of Christ.
Even as we grow in life and have an increased measure of function, we still have the same function as the Lord gave us in His Body – we don’t “grow to be another member” but we grow and increase in function for the Body.
There’s no such things as elections, human organization, or human assignment of our “function in the Body”, and it is rather pointless to try to be something we are not – this will exhaust us.
Don’t try to find out what member in the Body are you – simply let the truth of being members in the Body shine on you, and let God place you in the Body to function as a member. Even if don’t know what member we are and what is our function, we still need to take God’s will, enjoy Christ, grow in life, and function in our measure.
The Head, Christ, sets us in our special place in the Body of Christ, and He points us to our special function; therefore, we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think but receive God’s arrangement of the members of His Body (see Rom. 12:4; 1 Cor. 12:15-17).
Since God’s assignment is according to His will, every member of the Body is necessary; no member can consider he’s not needed in the Body because of his small function, neither can a member say he’s not of the Body unless he has another member’s function (1 Cor. 12:19-22).
Every one of us – as members of the Body – is indispensable; we were redeemed, saved, and are being transformed by the renewing of the mind so that we may function as members of the Body.
The Body of Christ needs all the members, and we as members need the Body. No matter how young or inexperienced we may be, the Body needs us, and we need the Body.
Every member of the Body of Christ has a definite place, a definite assignment, and a particular portion with which he serves the Body of Christ. We may think we’re a small member like the pinky finger, but sometimes an itch in the ear can be soothed and removed only by such a little pinky finger.
As the Lord reduces and terminates the self, the flesh, and the natural life, we will spontaneously be what we are and function in our measure.
Each member of the Body has his own characteristics and capabilities; these characteristics constitute the place, position, or ministry of each member (Rom. 12:4-8; 2 Tim. 4:5).
We are not “clones” – we are members of the Body having our own characteristics and abilities; we should therefore have the spirit of gladly accepting what we are, where we are, and what our function is in the Body.
Failure to accept the limitation of the Body is failure to honor the Body. But when we realize that God has placed the members of the Body even as He willed, and we all have our function in the Body, we will be satisfied with functioning in our measure in the Body.
Thank You Lord for placing all the members of the Body even as You willed. Thank You for making us members of the Body with our own function for the building up of the Body. May we realize that we each have our own place and function in the Body, and may we accept our function as the Lord has assigned us. Hallelujah, every member of the Body is necessary, and the function of each member of the Body is indispensable! Amen, Lord, we want to function in our measure in the Body for the building up of the Body!
Recognizing our Measure in the Body and Not Going Beyond it but Keeping the Order in the Body
It is so sweet to function in our measure in the Body for the building up of the Body! Each one of us in the Body of Christ has a measure, and if we stay within that measure, we will be happy in the Lord; however, if we go beyond that measure, we will be miserable, and we cause trouble in the Body.
A basic requirement for the growth and development of the Body is that we recognize our measure and do not go beyond it (Eph. 4:7, 16).
On the one hand we are limited in the Body, according to our measure, and on the other, we need to fully accomplish our ministry, that is, fill up the full measure of our function in the Body.
Many believers crave to be “outstanding Christians” and “great workers for God”, but if some become overdeveloped, others will be under-developed. When we truly come under the authority of Christ, the Head of the Body, He sets us in our special place in the Body and He appoints us to our special function.
We need to be happy with our measure and function in the Body.
In our physical body, some members can bear a lot of weight (the shoulders), while others can’t (the toes); however, each member has a unique and indispensable function in the body.
We must be willing to be limited by our measure (Rom. 12:3, 6), for as soon as we go beyond our measure, we go beyond the authority of the Head and move out from under the anointing.
As the Body of Christ, we are under His headship, and we all have our own special place and particular function in the Body; if we remain in the Body and function in our measure, the anointing which is upon Christ the Head reaches every member of the Body (see Psa. 133).
But as soon as we go beyond our measure in the Body, we lose the moving, working, and saturating of the Lord’s presence in our spirit.
We therefore need to hold the Head, Christ, regarding Him as the unique authority in the Body, and staying intimately connected to Him as the Head (Col. 2:19).
If we are disconnected from the Head, Christ, we lose our function; if we stay intimately connected to Christ and function in our measure, we are richly supplied by the joints and sinews, so that the Body may grow with the growth of God.
When we go beyond our measure, we interfere with the order of the Body. To think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think without a sober mind is to annul the proper order of the Body life (Rom. 12:3).
Each one of us has been appointed by God a measure of faith; the faith is of the same quality, but the measure differs. To think that we have the same measure of faith as the Apostle Paul is to not have a sober mind but to annul the proper order in the Body.
We need to be satisfied with our own function and not covet others’ function. On our side, we need to grow in the Lord so that our measure of faith would increase and our function in the Body would increase.
God allotted us all the same faith in quality, but the measure of the faith we have and our function in the Body depends upon His apportioning and our cooperation with Him, our attitude.
If we are not sober-minded, our measure of faith may even decrease instead of increasing, and we cause trouble in the Body. But when we function in our measure, we are full of joy inwardly.
Lord Jesus, may we recognize our measure in the Body and not go beyond it. Cause us to be willing to be limited by our measure so that we may function in the Body for the building up of the Body. We hold You as the Head, and we want to stay intimately connected to You so that we may be supplied to function in our measure in the Body. Oh Lord, save us from thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think! Save us from annulling the proper order of the Body life! Amen! May we be satisfied with our measure in the Body, as members of the Body!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Ron Kangas for this week, and portions from, Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 44, ch. 103, 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:
# All the saints of Christ are / Members every one; / All coordinating / Into oneness come. (Hymns #854)
# As members of the Body / Christ we would manifest, / Each learning how to function / His fulness to express; / We would not be spectators / But each as members move, / None bringing death or damage / But each our profit prove. (Hymns #867)
# To the Head fast holding ever, / That we may together grow, / From the Head supplies incoming / Thru us to the Body flow. / Lord, anew we give our bodies; / May we be transformed to prove / All Thy will, to know Thy Body, / And therein to serve and move. (Hymns #913)
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