Dedication to Glory

Set of three medals with numbers and ribbon

I watched some clips of the Olympics this week. It is amazing to see what these athletes are capable of. They have spent years fine-tuning their skills and their bodies to perform.

I marvel at their physical abilities. I also marvel at their dedication.

No one rolls out of bed covered in potato chip crumbs and decides to set a world record that day. Winning a gold medal isn’t based on a whim. It takes effort, commitment, focus, and dedication.

These talented men and women are certainly gifted physically. Their dedication to perfecting their craft is even more amazing to me.

I sadly saw a clip of a French gymnast breaking his leg during a vault this week, too. If you haven’t seen it I can’t recommend watching it. It looked terribly painful. Emotionally and physically.

In a moment his hopes for gold were finished. Years of preparation and work were nullified. The injury was catastrophic to his performance.

As I was praying today and spending some time with another believer we were discussing the church. The Bible uses the metaphor of a body to describe the church often. The church is the body of Christ. Like a physical body the church is able to be injured. Injury makes it harder to succeed at our goal.

Both the human body and the body of Christ (the church) are capable of amazing things. When every member is functioning properly the body is at its peak.

Jesus gave leadership to ensure that every part of His body would be strengthened. Jesus intends for each part of His body to function properly.

Paul affirms in Ephesians 4:16 that when each part works properly the whole body grows together in love. This is good news! This functioning doesn’t happen by accident. It doesn’t happen on its own. It takes focus and dedication.

Paul started Ephesians 4 with an admonition:

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3 NASB)

Translated as one long sentence in English Paul is imploring three major things:

  1. To walk in a worthy manner;
  2. To endure with one another in love;
  3. To eagerly preserve unity.

The leadership that the risen Christ provided for His church is something near and dear to my heart. That is the topic of Ephesians 4:11-16. That’s not what this post is about.

Instead, I want to ask: What do you think Paul would say about the church in America when evaluated by these things?

It is no secret that we are divided by denominationalism. Often, we are proud of it. The body of Christ is not only divided. The lines we’ve drawn are more than distinctions. They are often barriers that cannot be crossed. We have dismembered the body. This is worse than being injured.

Many injuries can heal naturally. Our present state requires more than this. We need a miraculous healing.

We have a denomination of hands. A denomination of feet. A denomination of tongues. A denomination of mouths. A denomination of hearts. And on and on.

Do you wonder why many think the church is irrelevant? We have dismembered the body of Christ. A dismembered body does not inspire awe. It is not capable of the amazing things that a functioning body is.

I want to be careful. The church of Jesus Christ is unified spiritually. But visibly we must ask ourselves if we have been eager to preserve unity in our generation. It seems like we have been eager to promote our own distinctiveness.

We are supposed to promote Christ.

I’m reminded when I watch the Olympics of the amazing and awe-inspiring capabilities of the human body. I pray that we would see the even more amazing ability of a unified and healthy body of Christ.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 NASB)

In order to see this in our own generation we must walk in a manner worthy of our calling. We must bear with each other in love. And we must be eager to preserve the unity which He purchased with His own precious blood.

Doing this isn’t comfortable. He didn’t do this so we could be comfortable. He did it for the praise of His glory.

Are you willing to dedicate yourself to walking in a manner worthy of your calling? Will you commit to endure with fellow Christians in love? Are you eager to preserve the unity that Christ purchased with His own blood?

The glory of God is what we’re aiming at. That is so much more impressive than a gold medal.

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