04/07/W – Unity in Diversity

Esther 6:1-7:10; 1 Corinthians 12:8-26; Psalms 37:1-6; Proverbs 12:21-23

NT: “to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another, interpretation of tongues. One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills. For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body — so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and we were all given one Spirit to drink. Indeed, the body is not one part but many… But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body… So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:8-14, 18-20, 26‬ ‭CSB)

This is a continuation of Paul’s explanation of the things of the Spirit that began at the beginning of this chapter. Here, Paul describes the manifestation grace gifts from the Spirit. In this list are nine manifestations that the Holy Spirit distributes to any and all Spirit-filled believer as He wills. These manifestations are not callings, ministries or inner motivations. They are manifestations that are given when needed. As you, a Spirit-filled believer, go through life led by the Spirit and walking in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit will manifest Himself through you in these various ways when the need arises. If you are faced with a situation that needs wisdom beyond your capacity, the Holy Spirit will manifest through you the wisdom of God. If you are praying for someone and you need to know what you do not know, the Holy Spirit will manifest through you the knowledge of God. If someone needs healing, the Holy Spirit will manifest through you a gift of healing for that person. That is how the manifestation gifts of grace from the Spirit work. God the Father graces everyone with inner motivations that make up a part of who they essentially are. In my case, God the Father has graced me with a motivation to teach and administrate. God the Son, the Lord of the Church, graces some in the church with a ministry role to equip the members of the church for the work of ministry. Every Spirit-filled believer, as they go about doing the work of ministry, is able to have the Holy Spirit manifest in them specific graces when they need them.

All of these various God-given motivations, Christ-appointed ministries and Holy Spirit manifestations all work together in symphony to make up a highly effective body known as the Church. When we come to faith in Christ and the Spirit baptizes us into the body of Christ, God the Father fits us perfectly in the body to contribute to the whole body out of what and who He created us to be. When all of us are joined together with our variety of motivations, ministerial callings, and diversities of backgrounds, we together become a beautiful expression of the manifold grace and glory of God. We aren’t called to a life of isolation and separation. We are called in Christ to be part of a beautiful symphonic body that works together in everything. There is no need to envy another’s giftings or ministry assignments, or to try to be something that we are not called or created to be. We simply shine forth with who we are uniquely created, called and graced to be – and together as a body, we accomplish God’s purposes for His glory.

Psalms: “Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act, making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:3-6‬ ‭CSB)

King David began this psalm by challenging the reader to not fret or be agitated by those who do evil, or to become envious of those who do wrong. I think Paul would extend that thought and say to us today to also not fret over those who are blessed differently than you or be envious of those who have a gift, talent or ministry that you don’t have. How do we keep ourselves from fret, agitation and envy? David tells us to trust in the Lord, dwell in the “land” where He has placed you, and feed on His faithfulness. In trusting in the Lord, we allow ourselves to be content with where He has placed us and His sufficient provision for us. David went on to say, “Take delight in the Lord.” The word translated as delight has to do with being pampered and lavished upon. Essentially, what David was saying was don’t go around taking what you want. Instead, trust the Lord and allow Him to lavish you with what He has for you – and you will come to find out that His lavish gifts are actually what your heart truly desires. When we trust in the Lord and commit our way to Him, He will make us gloriously righteous, defend us, and do right by us. The Lord God has created each and everyone of us. He is the one who crafted us and placed in us the things that motivate us and bring us joy. Instead of comparing ourselves to others and being envious, we need to trust that God has good for us that has been crafted specifically to fulfill us in every way. We just need to trust Him to place us, use us, grace us and fill us in the way that is best for us. If we trust Him to do that and commit ourselves to His ways, oh how delighted and radiant we will be.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You created me on purpose for a purpose. I thank You that I was created uniquely to be specifically fit into Your body to display Your glory in a way that no one else can. I also thank You that You do not expect me to accomplish all of Your purposes on my own. In fact, You have made it impossible for me to accomplish all that You have purposed for me on my own. I need the body of Christ just as much as the body of Christ needs me. Help me to not be envious of others’ positions or privileges, but instead trust You and allow You to radiate Your glory through me as I find my fit in Your body. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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