One

One

Every single person is unique! In fact, we are all very different. The sum total of our age, gender, size, disposition, education, work history, birthplace, family makeup and history, likes, dislikes, beliefs, experiences and much more all distinguish us as individuals. Along with all these difference comes the human tendencies to be critical and judgmental of others (especially those who seem to be different).

But as Christians, we are all ONE – we are one body in Christ!
  • Romans 12:4-5 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
  • Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

And using His children, our perfect and all-knowing God is building this one body in Christ.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
  • Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
  • 1 Corinthians 12:18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.

Yet within the unity of the body, there is great diversity:

Different Functions
  • Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

Different Spiritual Gifts
  • 1 Corinthians 12:4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

Different Ministries
  • 1 Corinthians 12:5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.

Different Activities
  • 1 Corinthians 12:6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

And according to God’s sovereign plan, the unity and diversity of this one body is working together for the benefit of the entire body.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

Reading Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4:1-16 will help bring this all together.


So back to the human tendencies to be critical and judgmental of others; as we look down on others, we begin to elevate ourselves. In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, Jesus provides a clear warning about self-exaltation.
  • Luke 18:9-14 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Who did you criticize today? Or perhaps you rendered judgment on the intent of someone else’s heart? Even if you didn’t speak it out loud, God saw your heart! And if you did share these thoughts, you could be leading others into sin.

Although we all fall short, with ongoing humble repentant prayer (like that of the tax collector above) and diligently seeking after God through His Word and all aspects of our daily lives, we can minimize our self-exaltation and maximize our benefit to the body!

Prayer

Father in Heaven, be merciful to me a sinner! Too often I criticize and judge others. You have gifted me and others according to Your perfect will and plan. Forgive me for being self-righteous. I pray Your Word will guide all Your children to be loving, kind and humble. Thank You for the unity You have built into Your body, the church. I praise You and pray to You in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.