Short Meditations on the Body of Christ: 8. A Network of Love
Eph 4:16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
I wonder if you found an unbeliever and asked them to give you one word that described the Christian Church, what it would be? I fear some might say, isolationists, arrogant, bigoted, hypocrites, and if that is so it simply suggests we have a lot of work to do in changing ourselves, changing our churches and changing the perception of those around us.
THE word that should come to mind is love or loving. We might say faith but the world around us probably doesn’t understand what that word really means, but love is much easier to understand. When Jesus came to Lazarus’s tomb, he wept and “Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” (Jn 11:36) Jesus’ tears signified to the Jews at least, love. (They may have been more for the effects of sin bringing death and mourning than for Lazarus who he knew he was going to raise.)
This is the point: love is expressive. The apostle John built a whole teaching on this: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” (1 Jn 3:16) Jesus dying on the Cross was a demonstration of his love for us (see also Jn 3:16). John followed on, “And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (1 Jn 3:16,17) i.e. if we have needy people among us, love says, “What can we do to help?” Love doesn’t let brothers or sisters struggle on their own, love reaches out to bless and to help. To simply say, “I will pray for you,” is inadequate.
Every member of the Trinity expresses themselves in love. “God IS love” (1 Jn 4:8,16) and that Jn 3:16 verse speaks of God’s love. Jesus came to express the Father’s love and did it by healing people, delivering people and accepting sinners. When the Holy Spirit moves, He expresses the love of the Godhead, therefore when we minister, presumably under the anointing, direction and power of the Holy Spirit, everything we do should be an expression of love. When we encourage one another, when we speak words of prophecy over one another, when we pray over one another, do those on the receiving end feel loved? I have witnessed people praying for other people, maybe for healing, maybe for other things, and I have felt, “All you have done is left that person feel condemned and a failure.” Think how you would feel if you were being prayed over, how would you want to feel? Loved! We have work to do, even as we share the Gospel.