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After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Ephesians 5:29-33

When I was five years old, we moved a little bit further into the suburbs. And not far away was a neighborhood pool. I really liked to swim, and it was right there for the taking. But there was a problem: we weren’t members. To get in, my parents had to be willing to sign up and cough up some money.

After so many years of politely asking, quickly followed by constant badgering, high-pitched yelling and screaming from yours truly, they joined. They signed the papers and paid the price. In return, we were given cards to prove that we were members.

From that point on, starting at 9:00 AM on Memorial Day weekend until 9:00 PM on Labor Day, I was in a constant state of going to the pool, being at the pool, and coming home from the pool. I’d hop on my bike, hopefully before mom had a chance to think about the chores I had failed to do, and headed to the pool.

When I showed up at the front gate, I showed my card and walked in. I was a member. And being a member made certain things true.

  • Members have agreements – To become members, there must be some rules, some agreements on what each other will do, and won’t do. This means that there are some limits and boundaries that both have said yes to.

  • Members have relationships – What happens to one member affects the other members, they are connected to each other, they are never total strangers. A relationship means people are related, connected to one another.

  • Members have partnerships – They are part of one another and work together towards common goals, common objectives, for their common good. A partner doesn’t do it all, they do their part while someone else also does their part.

  • Members have privileges – there are certain things that only members can do, they have rights, privileges, and responsibilities not available to just anyone. A privilege is just that, a benefit not available to just anyone.

When you follow Jesus, you become a member of his forever family, his church, the Body of Christ. There isn’t a way to opt out from this. There isn’t a second step, additional requirements, or fees. It’s a package deal.

And this membership isn’t just a small thing either. It’s a huge thing. It’s not like the towing insurance for your car if it breaks down. Being a member of his body, the church, is wildly important because of what he’s actively doing for us right now.

  • Nourishing – he doesn’t just feed us, but leads us onward to grow up into mature members of his body, the church.

  • Cherishing – he warms us when we all alone and cold, he comforts and revives us when we’re down and out.

As a member, it’s no longer just us as an individual believer. No, we’re part of something bigger. We have a part to play in something more important than just our individual lives.

But we’re more than just a part, we are to be a working part. An active part. Being who God made us to be, doing what he made us to do.

And my part isn’t just out there all alone. No, my part connects and works with the parts that are right next to me. And our parts together serve a greater and more important part than we could do on our own.

It may be difficult to hear this. It may even be harder to believe this. You might not want to think it’s true. But hear goes.

I need you to be the believer and person that God wants so I can grow up into the person he wants me to become. There I said it. I need you. And when you’re not doing what you were made to do, what God has called you to become, then I can never fully blossom and grow into the man that God wants me to be.

And the opposite is also true. If I don’t grow and become the godly man he wants me to become, then you can’t fully blossom and grow into the person he has in store for you.

It says that we “are” members of his body. Period. It’s a statement of fact. It’s true, so anything other than true is false. It’s something that we already are. It’s done. It was completed when we accepted Jesus.

It’s time to stop fighting it. And to join it. Start cooperating with God and his role for you in his body of believers. You’re needed more than you will ever know.

Noodling Questions

  • How do you feed and care for your relationships within the body of Christ?

  • When are you most nourished and cherished within Jesus’ church? How?

  • How can we best help one another grow and flourish in the Lord?


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