by Christopher Harbin

Edifying the Assembly
Christopher B. Harbin
1st Corinthians 14:1-12

Being the assembly of the Body of Christ is not easy. It may be simple, but it cuts against the grain of an individualistic society. We place great value on individual rights, desires, dreams, and initiatives. We speak of independence, drive, and personal ambition as key ingredients in defining a person's contribution and value within society. We ask about the benefit we personally receive from the actions of another as central to assessing their worth. Being the Body of Christ, however, demands a radically different focal point. It looks not to the individual, so much as to the whole. It sees the needs of each member, but looks to how each contributes outward to meet those same needs.

The assembly of saints in Corinth did not get it. They failed to grasp this essence of Christian identity and purpose. They did not see that being the assembly of the faithful meant giving up concern with self and replacing it with concern for the larger body. They were focused inwardly on issues of personal worth and standing, when God would have them focus on issues of caring and growing in their corporate expression and identity as a people called to represent Christ Jesus.

How does one love, without togetherness? How does one demonstrate unity, when we fail to find a reason to look beyond those things that would separate us and seek to build a corporate identity among ourselves? How do we become the Body of Christ, if we fail to invest in one another for something greater than personal gain?

The assembly in Corinth focused on self. They placed value on what each one of them might gain from shared actions and decisions and experiences. They sought after those things that individually made them feel secure, wanted, prized, or cherished. They wanted to be seen as better than others. They strove for privilege and importance. They failed to give importance to God's call for them to becom ...

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