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Body Building

Is salvation enough? It’s really not a trick question.  Once saved, you have the key to the kingdom. You know where you will be in eternity.  As Christians, we diligently pray and work to spread the gospel, for the purpose of salvation.  With each salvation, we add another person to the body of Christ.  But what part of the body are they?

Two years ago, a dear friend of mine mentored me through a difficult spiritual experience. She encouraged me to seek God’s purpose for my life and to identify my spiritual gifts.  She asked me, “What part of the body are you? Have you prayed for that knowledge?”  That’s where the Holy Spirit really started his work within me.

Scripturally, it’s no secret that with our acceptance of the Holy Spirit, we are the recipients of spiritual gifts. Our gifts from the Holy Spirit, which are irrevocable and that God gives without repentance (Romans 11:29). If we believe that each of us is merely a part of the body of believers, and that each part has it’s own purpose (1 Cor 12:12), we should desire that all the individual parts of God’s body would be brought together here on earth, to serve both our individual purposes, as well as to pursue our calling as a body of believers – as the church.

If you’re still reading this, do you believe in God? If so, you also must believe in the enemy.  The “thief who comes to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10).  The enemy who would seek to not only keep us each from finding and fulfilling God’s purpose, but who would love nothing more than to hack apart a body of believers, keeping all parts separate and the body disjointed.

What do we do? We have to first believe. Salvation is ours for the asking, and no one on earth can keep us from it (except ourselves). “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matt 7:7). Have you asked?

Back to the question – is salvation enough? Being saved is LIFE.  Knowing God’s purpose for your LIFE is a whole other thing. Sanctification is the process of strengthening our relationship with God, in order to reveal His purpose for our lives.  Just like salvation, sanctification is a deeply personal process – spirit to spirit.  I would argue that you can’t really “see” salvation with physical eyes, but sanctification’s results are tangible.

God’s light shines in each of us, and I feel it is brightest when we are fully utilizing our gifts. “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions” (Matt 7:20).  Allow your fruit to announce God’s presence in your life.

What’s the down-side to knowing and using your gifts? The enemy knows them too, and wants nothing more than to keep you from fulfilling your purpose. Sometimes, even those closest to you will reject you because of your gifts. Someone you care about may tell you that the gift you have isn’t real, or that it’s not meant for someone of your gender, your background, your race or your age.  And it’s your choice whether you listen to them, or to that deep yearning and knowledge in your spirit. You get to choose.

Chances are, using your spiritual gifts will take you out of your comfort zone. Allowing yourself to build community with people who have different gifts is also uncomfortable. As humans, and as believers, we build walls of protection around those things that are important to us. We build physical walls around our families (our homes), gates around our communities, borders around our countries.  We build walls around good things, like our churches, our schools, our hospitals. We build walls around bad things too, like prisons. Walls are physical, and they’re also emotional. Walls may keep out the bad things in life, but they also keep out good things!

The minute we build walls that keep us from spiritually connecting as a body of Christ, that’s the minute we’ve departed from God’s desire to build his perfectly functioning body on earth. Your church isn’t the body.  It’s one part. And the rest of the body will be found in churches that differ from yours, and in communities that you’ve never stepped foot in.

Salvation is not hindered by gender, ethnicity or experience. Neither are spiritual gifts. God’s gifts to us are perfect and irrevocable.  When we use our gifts for the purpose of building the body of Christ on earth, we will see, and feel,  walls fall around us.  Let it be so!

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