18 Mar Self Perception
1 Cor 12v12-31
The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into Christ’s body by one Spirit, and we have all received the same Spirit.
Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not the hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am only and ear and not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? Suppose the whole body were an eye—then how would you hear? Or if your whole body were just one big ear, how could you smell anything?
But God made our bodies with many parts, and he has put each part just where He wants it. What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.
Focus 1- You have God-declared value.
Self-image must be rooted in the truth of who He says we are.
One aspect of our lives this touches is SELF TALK.
Another aspect is SELF PERCEPTION.
Paul’s statement of, “and He has put each part just where he wants it,” must communicate to our hearts at a deep level.
wants it – the root word is to desire or take pleasure in.
It is a dangerous tendency to look at our lives, what we have been given by Him, and despise it. Why? To to this is to miss the unique truth that HE has placed us where He wants us.
It is equally as dangerous to look longingly at what we think we need, where we think we should be, and loath the placement of God.
I can trust my station, position, season, and circumstances because I TRUST HIM.
If I fail to see my placement as given by Him, I will miss my moment to impact that place the way He intended. Too many times, we willingly choose to go AWOL from His placement because we see little value or purpose in the calling.
Paul will encourage the young Corinthian church that God has placed them where HE sees fit. We would do wise to consider this truth.
Who I am and Where I am is important…
Embrace where God has you. Be fully present where you are. Bloom where you are planted.
The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some of the parts that seem weakest and least important are really the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect from the eyes of others those parts that should not be seen, while other parts do not require this special care.
Focus 2- They have God-declared value.
can never say
is literally, “not to possess the power.”
I don’t need you
The root idea is to see no value in or necessity for
Paul is not saying the eye can’t say it…he is saying the eye has not been granted the permission or authority to say it.
Paul is addressing the tendency in each of us to, not only struggle with our own value, but to struggle to see the value in others.
For some this looks like critical judgement, for others it looks like a lack of making room for others.
In fact, some of the parts that seem weakest and least important are really the most necessary And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care.
Paul will highlight one pattern of thought that begins in and is rooted in critical judgement.
The words, “seem & regard,” are rooted in mental perspective.
It is my opinion. It is a judgment of the mind.
This is the assessing of others, determining that we see don’t see value or usefulness, and disregarding them.
Notice: the truth is not that they lack of value, it is that they don’t show it from a distance.
I believe Paul is giving us a clue on how to succeed alongside each other –
through mental choice
There are many graces and gifting(s) that will not become evident without building relationship with each other.
This tells me that my opinions can become incredibly dangerous.
I can miss the gift and grace in others by believing they have nothing to offer.
I can selfishly make no room for others because I don’t want to.
If we are honest, at times, life is easier if we just do it on our own. But that is not how God created the family of God. We are intended to work together, making room for each other.
It isn’t about whether or not we think we need help. It is about valuing each member as a contributor. The rule for God’s Family…everyone contributes.
The language is important: least important / most necessary / less honorable / greatest & special care
There is a juxtaposition of ideas here.
The negative language is pointed at external value and personal opinion.
The positive language is pointed towards intentional decision and choice.
This tells me that it is natural in our humanity to live in the negative side of the equation, and only through Jesus, can we learn the positive.
What does special care mean?
Preserving / clothing in most ancient Greek writing were linked to economic help
This allegorical language always leans into societal structure
Whether about economics or social status…what is clear is that the way we handle each other in the body is at the center of Paul’s concern with this teaching.
There are some people that we feel naturally drawn to and honored by having around us.
There are some that we don’t.
The crux of the issue for Paul is the choice we make in these moments.
How am I going to treat the irritating person?
How am I going to treat the person that makes me feel less about myself when they are near?
So God has put the body together in such a way that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity.
This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other equally. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
The phrase, “God has put the body together,” is “composed,” in the Greek. It means to, “co-mingled,” the body for a purpose.
Can I submit an idea to you?
We have been put together by God to share honor.
Some of us need to be honored. Some of us need to dispense honor.
The humility of dispensing honor helps an honored person connect with the gracious, gentle nature of God.
The gift of being honored helps the dishonored person connect with the provisional, comforting nature of God.
God has set this body of Christ up in a way that as we EXIST in togetherness, genuinely caring for each other, we all come into a healthier place.
Paul’s overarching point?
We tend to regard ourselves and disregard others.
If we consider Jesus’ life…he lived this idea in reverse.
just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20v28
The Jesus model is to regard others, even to the disregard of ourselves.
Learning to value every part of our body means I live with a very simple truth:
God has placed me in this family to love and serve.
So my question today, tomorrow, and the rest of this week will be,
‘Whom will I serve today? And how will I do it?'”
The issue is not my serving of everyone…the issue is my attitude.