1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 27. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
Have you ever been a part of something bigger than just yourself? I’m sure you have. Your family? A sports team? A music ensemble? A group project in school? The church? When God saves us he not only saves us FROM things like sin, and death, and hell, he saves us INTO something much bigger than us. His family. His community. His church, the body of Christ.
Union with Christ is union with the body of Christ. This isn’t just an elaborate metaphor. Being Christ’s body is our new reality. Christ indwells each individual Christian’s body (see day 200), and he indwells all Christians as the singular body of Christ. By the empowering life of the Spirit we think Christ’s thoughts, feel his feelings, and speak his words. We are the physical manifestation of Jesus on Earth today.
No more independence
Too often we think about our relationship with God in strictly individual terms. We have a “personal relationship with Christ.” We have daily “personal devotions.” We confess our sin privately. But our spiritual growth was never meant to be purely personal. It was meant to be relational. There is no room for independence in the body of Christ. We have been baptized into one body in one Spirit. We all were made to drink of one Spirit. All the members are one body.
True spirituality is union with one another. Just like the Trinity, we too exist in a community for the good of the others. For love. Why should a Christian go to church? To learn how to love and be loved. To learn how to be holy for the sake of love. The church is where we learn to image God again. The church family is where we learn to be all the things we were created to be.
No more co-dependency
Co-dependency is the opposite of independence. It finds its identity in the acceptance of others. I’m only happy when you’re happy with me. Co-dependency simply can’t function without the other person and their approval.
But union with Christ says that every Christian has all of Christ. Each individual Christian is fully alive, fully blessed, and fully saved all by themselves. This frees us from the bondage of co-dependency. Our identity is found in Christ, not in what anyone else thinks, or says about us.
Union with Christ offers us the beautiful middle ground between independence and co-dependence – interdependence. Interdependence occurs when each member realizes their need for others, but also their individual completeness in Christ. Each member of the body keeps their own unique identity, and yet shares the identity of Christ. Every member is important, but none is ultimate.
Interdependence is the key to finding real joy in this life. When a baby is born it is completely dependent on its parents. This is natural. But we don’t intend for them to stay this way do we? Over time we want the child to gain the freedom to do things on their own. We guide our children out of dependency, not into full independence (never needing help) or into co-dependence (always needing help), but into interdependence (needing help and giving help). We want them to be part of something bigger than themselves – the family.
This interdependence is where joy is born. And this kind of interdependence is what Christ invites us into each day. Jesus wants us to be contributors to something bigger than ourselves – his kingdom. He wants us to need him and he has chosen to need us. He has chosen to live through us, manifesting his love through our love for one another. Christ is not independent of us, nor is he co-dependent upon us, he is interdependent with us. What a glorious thought!
“To live is Christ” is to be brought into something that is much bigger than you – the interdependent body of Christ. This grace of interdependence is the primary characteristic of the body of Christ. Everyone matters, everyone has a role, everyone contributes to the growth of a new humanity re-created in love to serve both God and the world.
Can you identify trends of independence or co-dependence in yourself?
You in Christ
How does union with Christ affect your view of the church?
Christ in you
How can you live an interdependent life with the body of Christ this week?
Playlist: The Body of Christ