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The body of Christ—the church shaped by the Spirit

March 6, 2024

Daily Scripture

Ephesians 4:11-16, 1 Corinthians 12:27-30

Ephesians 4
11 He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. 12 His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ 13 until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we aren’t supposed to be infants any longer who can be tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others. 15 Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ, 16 who is the head. The whole body grows from him, as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does its part.

1 Corinthians 12
27 You are the body of Christ and parts of each other. 28 In the church, God has appointed first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, the ability to help others, leadership skills, different kinds of tongues. 29 All aren’t apostles, are they? All aren’t prophets, are they? All aren’t teachers, are they? All don’t perform miracles, do they? 30 All don’t have gifts of healing, do they? All don’t speak in different tongues, do they? All don’t interpret, do they?

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The apostle Paul wrote the two passages you just read over two thousand years ago. Yet they are timeless, applying to each Christ-follower in 2024. The church is “the body of Christ,” so each member is an integral part of a larger whole. If one person with one gift is missing, the entire body suffers. As the body works together, unity and power come into being. We do not acquire or use these gifts on our own strength, but only through the Holy Spirit at work within us.

  • Are you clear about which of these gifts the Spirit has given you? If not, ask the people who know you best what gifts they see in you. You can also click here to access a short tool for spiritual gifts discovery we use at The Church of the Resurrection. Once you have a sense of what your gifts may be, how can you put those gifts into action to serve and build up the body of Christ?
  • Your “package” of spiritual gifts won’t be exactly like anyone else’s—note how Paul used words like “some” and “if” in writing about the gifts. (Tomorrow we will read about the “fruit of the Spirit” (cf. Galatians 5:22-23). Those are qualities the Spirit grows in every Christian.) Spiritual gifts are natural abilities in your areas of giftedness, which leave you room to grow in using them with maximum effectiveness. How can you develop your spiritual gifts as you learn to use them?

Lord Jesus, your Spirit has gifted me in unique ways so that the Kingdom might come to earth. Help me to recognize the joy and responsibility of my giftedness. Amen.

GPS Insights

Jennifer Creagar

Jennifer Creagar

Jennifer Creagar serves as the Community Assistance Coordination Director in Resurrection's Congregational Care Ministry. She is married and loves spending time with her family, and she enjoys writing and photography.

I love today’s Scripture reading. To me, it contains some of the best news in all of God’s Word. God has given us gifts, in addition to our salvation, which you would think would be enough. Today’s verses show me that God cares about my life here in this place and this time, and the Creator of All Things made sure that I was equipped to live that life, to love my neighbor, and to glorify God in the process. In addition, because no one has been created to be all things to all people, God equipped everyone to do those things with unique gifts we can share with our families, and communities, and the world!

Paul also points out that these gifts build up the whole body of Christ and unite those who follow him so that we can all experience everything God has for us. What should we do with these unique gifts? Author and theologian Frederick Buechner said, “Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.” God gave us gifts for a purpose and intends for their use to bring great joy to ourselves and others. If you don’t think you have any gifts that serve God’s purpose, you just haven’t found them yet. There are some good suggestions in today’s GPS, if you want to explore your spiritual gifts and how to use them.

Most important, though, is that we stay close to God, and listen to the Holy Spirit as we are guided to finding our place in this blessed family of gifted, forgiven sinners – the place where we “grow in every way to Christ, who is the head.”

Lord God, who loves us so much, thank you for the unique gifts you have provided each of us, and help us learn to use them with joy to meet the world’s need and your purpose for us. Amen.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.