Does this Congregation make Me Look Fat?

offroad-193517_640As the New Year approaches, many of us will struggle with body image issues.
Women usually strive to be smaller.
Men seem to want to be bigger.
So much of this has very little to do with what’s actually going on in our bodies
and everything to do with what’s happening in our heads –
what we’re thinking
what we’re looking at, focusing on, paying attention to
what we’re hearing
what we’re ingesting
in large part, our bodies are at the mercy of our heads.
Which is good news for the church since
Jesus is the head of the body.
“And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” Colossians 1:18 ESV
“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Romans 12:4-5 ESV
“And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:22-23 ESV
So the “body image” problems we have about the church,
that result in unprecedented whining and complaining,
that cause many to separate themselves from fellowship with other believers,
that dampen the witness of the body as
before the unbelieving public
it viciously attacks itself
this is as much from the evil one as
anorexia
bulemia
body dysmorphic disorder
obesity
and all manner of emotional distortions that manifest themselves in the human body.
Yes, there are problems in the visible church.
Yes, there is corruption, distortion, false teaching, deception, and heresy.
Yes, there is a lack of love.
But to address these things, we need to rely, not on our own feelings or methods or psychology but on the mind of Christ which is revealed through His Holy Scripture, through obedience, prayer, and the work of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus doesn’t have a body image problem. Jesus LOVES the church.
When I visited all the churches I could visit in Southern Rhode Island (and Warwick, and Providence), I was afraid I would be overtaken by a critical spirit.
But, I walked through the experience on my knees and I looked for Jesus.
Where was Jesus at work in my community?
What surprised me most was that in almost every fellowship, I could feel the heartbeat of Christ for the people there.
As if He sat beside me pointing out people He loved saying,
“See your sister over there? Watch how she stops at each pew to inquire after people and ask how they are.”
“See that brother at the pulpit? Can you feel the work he’s put into that sermon? The passion he has for the people before him?”
“See how much this fellowship loves the poor? the forgotten? the homeless? orphans? teens? Haiti? missions? children? prayer? my word? the community?”
“See how hard this tiny little church is trying to shine my light? make my love evident? remain faithful?”
I came away from the experience a changed woman.
I came away knowing that Jesus’ heart beats for His church and He loves His people with an unwavering love.
There are Biblical ways to deal with necessary correction and exhortation.
None of them include whining, complaining, or setting up a fellowship of one in your bedroom.
None of them include hardening your hearts, gossiping, whispering, condemning, or refusing to love.
Jesus does not have a body image problem.
So, wouldn’t it be vital that we access the mind of Christ before we open our mouths about His body?
His heart beats for His people. His eyes see what yours don’t. His ears hear what no human ear can attain. The incense of our prayers reach His nostrils and His mouth speaks wisdom into our mutual fellowship.
Christ is the head of the body. It would be wise to let Him lead.
And let His thoughts inform our words and actions. Let His ideas infuse our hearts with a renewed vision for loving the others He has seen fit to call our brothers and sisters.
Having issues with the body of Christ? Take a long look in the mirror of His word, loved ones.
You are loved – don’t keep that love to yourself.


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1 Comment

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  1. My pastor used to say, if you ever find the perfect church don’t join it, you’ll ruin it.