Ephesians 4:16 ~ from whom (Christ) the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Notice it says, “by what every JOINT supplies.” What is this joint that Paul is talking about? What exactly is the supply coming from this joint?
I think most of us understand that God uses the human body as an example of how the body of Christ works. With that in mind, consider what a joint is. It is not a body part, but the connection between the parts. it is the joining of one or more parts together. The “joint” is the relationship between the parts. We are “joined and knit together” by what every relationship (joint) supplies. The supply of the Spirit comes through the relationships we have with other believers. This is why we must guard and value ALL relationships.
This supply of the “joint” will cause growth and edification to the body according to the effective working of every part doing its share. So, what if we, the parts, are not “effectively working?” What if we are hurt, confused, misunderstood, or deceived? What if we are simply the wrong part in the wrong place? What if we are just ignorant of how all this works so we don’t put enough emphasis on the relationships and make it all about how each part is functioning or not functioning.
In our physical bodies, when there is pain and injury to any joint it affects all the surrounding parts. It limits mobility, reduces overall strength, severely limits the function of all the surrounding parts. It is the same with a spiritual body.
While praying one day I said by the Spirit, “Lord, I thank you for the Body of Christ that validates you to the world.” As soon as I said those words, I saw a vision of an Arab man sitting in a wheelchair with his head down. In bold white letters, written across this image was the word, “INVALID.”
When I was a young boy, I remember my grandmother, who was a nurse, using that term to describe someone bound to a wheelchair, whether temporary or permanent. I began to think about the significance of that word, INVALID… Not valid. What a terrible thing to say about a person.
As I looked closer at the image I saw that it was Jesus in the wheel chair. I cried profusely at what He was showing me.
Our indifference toward relationships have made Him an invalid (not valid) to the world. The world sees us put ourselves first, instead of Him and others. They see the selfish ambition that causes envy, jealousy and every evil work. They see Christians fighting amongst themselves and hating on each other. It is no wonder that many want nothing to do with Church or Christianity.
Where is the love of God in all this?
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
We can be the right body part in the right place, but if we are not relating properly with the other parts of the body, we actually cut off the supply of the Spirit coming to us and through us. If we are selfish and prideful in our relationships we become a landing strip for demonic activity according James 3.
When the parts are effective at doing their share, with humility and deference, right relationship and true fellowship occurs inviting the Holy Spirit to provide a supply that brings growth and edification. It is how the parts relate that brings the supply, not the strength of the part. It is the fellowship of the parts that bind and knit us together. It is the “joint” of fellowship that allows us to experience God on a level that goes beyond what we can experience on our own.
Fellowship isn’t just a bunch of fellows in the same ship, its a bunch of folks called to community by divine appointment to be an expression of God to the world.
All relationships are important, even the ones that challenge us. Every relationship is a gift, an opportunity, a garden to sow and reap from. Remember the garden you sow in may not be the garden you reap from. It is important to nurture and protect every relationship.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
We need to celebrate our local church and the relationships we have there. If we are broken and separated from the body we should reconnect. Be a peace maker, gather with an awareness of the importance of right relationship. Come with humility, come with expectation, come to join in God’s work and be a blessing to God and all you are in relationship with. Lets make Jesus a valid option to the world.
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