Friday, May 18, 2007

Fixed Eyes

The small group that I'm a part of - we really consider ourselves to be a close family, even with diverse thoughts and ways of looking at things - recently came across this verse while doing a study on "small groups."

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Heb 12:2-3 NIV

The body of Christ is one body, one unit (see Romans 12), made up of many "parts" or "members." My friend Dave Lesniak recently shared something with me that I believe he heard from Frank Friedman. (This is not an exact quote): "The criteria for fellowship is not understanding the New Covenant. It's Jesus Christ." We can hang out together and fellowship and be involved in the work of the ministry (Eph 4:12), not based upon everyone seeing everything the same way, but based upon the Person, Jesus Christ, who is in us and among us. Jesus, the head of the body, works in and through the various members that make up His body as He sees fit.

I don't understand some of the things He is doing in and through certain other people. I may even object to what I see them doing. I may be right in my objections. On the other hand, I may be opposing something that Jesus is legitimately doing through the members of His body. I have learned to discern, and will continue to learn to discern, as we all do. The main thing is that Jesus Himself, the Person (not the religion of Christianity, nor the other parts of His body, not even the spiritual principles or doctrines nor the ministries we're each called into), is the 'object' that we have our eyes fixed upon. He is the one who writes our faith and He is the one who perfects and finishes our faith.

Like the image of a palm tree that I shared a while back, our roots dig deeper and deeper into the fertile soil of grace, and our "branches" are spread out toward heaven in a Godward gaze. These external gestures and images can be used to point to internal realities... the very life of Christ, who is our life. We are members of Him, and "individually members of one another."

Not that we shun doctrine or the other members of the Body, nor the work of the ministry, etc. I'm not saying that at all! I love doctrine. I love working with the other members of the Body. I'm just saying that Knowing the Person is what it's all about. All the other stuff flows from that. The work that the Head does in and through His body is really His work. Sometimes the arm has no clue what the middle toe is doing, and that's ok. Jesus simply tells us to abide in Him - and the branches will bear His fruit.

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