Body-life. What the heck is that?
I’m pretty new to true body-life and have only been experiencing it for four years with a very small body of saints. That is between 3 and 7 of us, over those four years. And so this post might be of more value to those of you who perhaps are not yet able to be part of a larger body of believers. Perhaps you only meet with one to six or so other saints but you are all blinded by the Lord’s purpose and desire to do community/body-life with Him, together. So what does true body-life even mean?
The very phrase itself was only a ‘concept’ to me a few years back. It sounded like a very spiritual and free term for hanging out with other Christians and in a way, that’s what it is, sort of. But I see now that body-life is much more than a bunch of christians hanging out, because it’s not our bodies, it’s One Body – the body of Jesus Christ. He has one body, but many members of that one body. So body-life is really, simply, Christ’s life expressed through His many members. How cool is that?
I guess I used to experience ‘hanging out’ with other Christians. We’d be together because we either liked each other, or we were encouraged by ‘leadership’ to hang out together, or we had something like music or bible study, a desire for prayer or an activity or hobby in common. But you know what? There wasn’t necessarily the unity of true body-life or the flow and manifestation of Christ’s life through His Spirit simply by us being together. It was more a bunch of individual Christians in the same space together, some with close friendships and others just acquaintances but all trying to love and accept each other because we understood that was what God wanted us to do.
What I’m learning in body-life today is that we are experiencing the Lord Himself. Not many of us here have things in common, in fact we all have very little in common actually. We don’t meet out of guilt or persuasion, we don’t even meet because we like each other! (though, we do like each other, that’s the bonus of true body-life!). Christ Himself is our leadership and Christ Himself is our common ground, and Christ Himself is our joy and delight. Subsequently, He is living when we are together. What does He say?
“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” (Matthew 18:20, NASB)
Of-course, body-life is more than just ‘meetings’ too. It’s Life! Christ is not a ‘meeting’. Christ is not restricted to an official ‘meeting’, though He sure likes meetings where He is allowed to be Head and to express Himself freely. But He is more than that. He is a family and a community.
If you think about it, a family doesn’t function as meetings. There might be a family meeting at various times to explore or discuss or make decisions. Generally however, a family is busy just ‘being’ and they are doing the ‘being’ while they live together. The are experiencing the ups and downs, the good times and hard times, the suffering and the victories, along side each other and while living together.
The same with a community. Communities have meetings sometimes, but generally they are just being a community. Living side by side, working together, walking together, helping each other, knowing one another. And so it is with body-life. Christ’s life is Christ living through His members in every day living. Side by side, together, helping, loving, working, serving, hanging out.
Of-course, in families and communities there’s often friction and disagreements and personality clashes. But even these in the context of true body-life work for the glory of Christ’s life being expressed. Iron sharpening iron, and all that. In fact, these incidents are vital to the growth and maturity of the body as a whole, if the members stay connected to the Head!
I am so grateful for the saints that I get to do body-life with. I’m grateful for their enduring patience and acceptance, their tireless love and giving. And I know it is Christ in them who is being expressed to me because they are laying their own lives down and learning to overlook my humanity in order to see Christ in me also. We depend on one another to receive, hear, and minister the Lord through one another. He is expressed so beautifully through His body as He indwells each and every member by His very own beautiful Spirit. I’m also thankful for the saints that my husband and I are moving to do body-life with in a couple of months, because where the body is united in submission to the Head, there is Christ’s life-flow.
I used to be afraid of ‘body-life’ because I equated it to the old thing of hanging out with Christians, assuming that I would get along with everyone or like everyone or have things in common. I thank God that now I am learning that Christ is in our midst and when we are together it is Him that we see. And now body-life has become something very dear and precious in my life.
Thanks Lord, for your glorious beautiful body! The Body of Christ!