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Perfectly Arranged Parts

Thursday, September 04, 2014

“God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.” – I Corinthians 12:18-20

Do you have those people in your small group that you just don’t seem to click with? Perhaps they never seem to understand what you mean. They never seem to get on the same page with the rest of the group. They never get excited about the things you get excited about. They just don’t seem to have anything in common with you.

God’s not surprised. According to his Word, He has actually designed us uniquely to be different parts of his body. Some of us are hands, others are eyes, still others are feet. Spiritually, this means that we have different gifts and different functions within the body of Christ. Practically, it means that we see things differently and have personalities and preferences that often clash.

It’s easy, in light of this reality, to get frustrated with the situation and work toward having churches (and small groups) where everyone is as much like “ME” as possible. We ought to get rid of all the difficult people (read: those who don’t mesh well with “ME”) and get some more people who enjoy the same things we do and look and act more like us. It seems that doing so would make things easier and better for all involved.

God apparently feels differently. Paul tells us in these verses that these unique parts God himself has arranged exactly the way He wants them to be. In fact, it is this dynamic that actually makes the body of Christ the body of Christ. God doesn’t make mistakes and has perfectly created the body of Christ so that it is beautiful, exactly the way He wants it to be.

I’ll admit that this does not mean that everyone in your small group is absolutely supposed to stay in your group because God has so decided. For a variety of reasons, God sometimes moves different parts around for different purposes. What it does mean, however, is that you should expect and learn to appreciate different parts of the body. It means our hearts that tend to move away from different people and toward similar people need to be redirected by the gospel and the God who created us uniquely.

As God redirects your heart, you may find you begin to rejoice when the parts of the body in your small group don’t look the same. In fact, you may find that the most beautiful relationships begin to form between you and the people you’d least suspect. If that happens, you’ll know that we’re beginning to be the body of Christ that God created and designed us to be – arranged exactly and perfectly the way He wants.


will.spink | September 04 2014 at 4:07 pm

Christy and I have found this to be true over and over again in small groups. In our first small group in St. Louis, we had a couple more than twice our age that we didn’t seem to have anything in common with. They seemed to look at everything differently from us, but their unique perspective on a passage or situation we were discussing often taught us a lot … and over time endeared us to them as well.

How have you seen this perfect divine arrangement of the members of the body of Christ in your small group or your relationships in general?

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Recommended Reading

You'll find most of my recommended books available in the Guest Center at Southwood.

  • You Can Change
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    Tim Chester

    How do we mortify sin? How do we address the sin in our lives that reignite like a trick birthday candle we thought we had already blown out of our lives? This is a careful and thoroughly theological book that is hopeful without avoiding honesty. It is practical without being legalistic. It gets to the root of the sinful areas of our lives without offering a prescriptive regimen to hide behind avoiding the grace that has the only true power to teach “us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14

  • Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
    Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
    Timothy Lane & Paul Tripp

    Small groups would be easy if weren’t for the people in the group! This book will help equip you to see your own sin first and provide the courage and humility to address it in others.

  • The Heart of a Servant Leader

    This is a collection of letters written by Jack Miller to people experiencing real-life concerns and struggles. Through these gracious and honest letters you will learn how to humbly offer to others (and yourself!) hope, repentance, and courage that flows from the truth of the gospel of grace.  Though this isn’t a “how to” book full of nifty steps to Your Best Gospel Life Now. It’s a glimpse into the heart of a person who has found food at the Cross, and you watch (and learn) as he humbly points others to the feast.

  • Comforts From The Cross
    Comforts From The Cross
    Elyse M. Fitzpatrick

    This 31 day devotional will bring you to the foot of the cross to remember and celebrate the truth of the gospel of grace, and develop skills that will help “inform, free, gladden, and enliven your soul every day.” Becoming proficient in applying the Gospel of grace to our own hearts is a key skill that is well worth our effort to develop.

Recommended Listening

  • Christ PCA - Nashville
    Scott Sauls and CPC Staff

    Listen to sermons from Senior Pastor Scott Sauls and other CPC pastors at a sister church.

  • Lookout Mountain PCA
    Joe Novenson and LMPC Staff

    Check out sermons by Senior Pastor Joe Novenson and other LMPC pastors at a sister church.

  • Steve Brown Etc.
    Steve Brown

    Steve Brown’s unique blend of orthodoxy and controversy, humor and profundity, and a refusal to play religious games will give you permission you have needed to stop being so uptight. And even if it’s for 30 minutes, you just might experience radical freedom, infectious joy and maybe even a bit of surprising faithfulness.

Recommended Links

  • Tim Chester: reformed spirituality and missional church
    Tim Chester

    Tim has an incredible way of applying the Gospel of grace that is both practical and honest with a consistent skillful affinity to point us to Jesus. He is director of The Porterbrook Institute; a church planter with The Crowded House in Sheffield, UK; and the author of over a dozen books including Total Church and You Can Change.

  • Of First Importance
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    Here you will find a growing collection of gospel-centered quotes to help reorient your thoughts toward the splendor and grandeur of the person and work of Jesus.