November 23 I Tuesday
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” —1 Corinthians 12:27
Society tells us to strive for independence. It says we are all unique individuals who should be proud of who we are. Children are encouraged to be out of the house by the age of 18. We are all pushed to find our identity in our inner feelings and desires. While these things are not wrong in themselves, as the Bible confirms we have gifts and talents that make us unique, but too great a focus on independence is actually a weakness, not a strength, according to Scripture.
Independence is a weakness because we are inclined to act on our own rather than to depend on God, and it is He who accomplishes His work through us. In being independent of others we miss out on the beautiful nature of community in which we work together, receiving encouragement and direction that strengthens each other.
From the beginning, we were not created to be independent. When God said of Adam in the Garden of Eden, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18), He was not referring only to marriage. God was talking about humanity’s built-in need to have meaningful relationships and to build off each other’s strengths. This is what Paul meant when he talked about the body of Christ in the opening verse of this devotion.
Every Christian is a different part of Christ’s body, which comprises the Church, and is meant to use our spiritual gifts alongside each other to accomplish God’s work. A body requires many different parts to function, and not one part is more important than another. Individualism, however, tells us that we do not need the rest of the body. This is exactly as Paul said when he wrote, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’” (1 Corinthians 12:21). No matter how perfect an eye’s vision is, it will not be able to complete the work of the body on its own. Similarly, even those of us with a wide range of talents are still only one part in the body of Christ, as a hand or a foot cannot function properly on its own, and neither can we.
God wants us to work in interdependence with others—this is a blessing! The unique gifts and talents God has given to each of us are not for the purpose of benefitting ourselves, but to expand His kingdom. What God accomplishes on this earth, He accomplishes through His Church, which is every Christian working together in utter dependence on the Holy Spirit and under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Sovereign God, thank You for people within Your church who strengthen and encourage me. Help me to do the same, using the unique gifts you have given me. Thank You, Lord.