For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ Romans 12:4-5
For – If we’ve learned anything about Paul, it has to be this: he loves to draw conclusions. Paul always seems to move from one point to the next as though he were a lawyer making a case. So, when we read his letters, we must never skip over the connecting words. It is unfortunate that the Greek connector gar is often left out of the translation (especially in the NIV). Gar tells us that everything Paul said up to this point is now coming to a conclusion. This is not a new, disconnected thought. This is the summary.
Let’s review. In the previous verses, Paul makes the point that we are living sacrifices. As a result, we are not to be molded by this age. We are to be transformed by thinking God’s thoughts after Him. In doing so, we become the living examples of God’s will. We see His handiwork in and through our lives. The first thing we must conquer in this transformation is the natural desire to regard ourselves as important. That is insanity (for a lot of good reasons). The sane approach to life (the right mind) is to submit to the God of all creation and let Him run the show. He provides each one of us with the correct standard for measuring our relationship with Him.
THEREFORE, we are to function just like a body. Each one of us must exercise what God has given to us individually so that the entire body (the community) will be in alignment with God’s purposes. No one is excluded and no one is more important than another. Everyone has a role to play. That role is not whatever each one imagines the part to be. It is what God allots and assigns to each person. Since God is directing this human orchestra, He determines the score and the instruments. He knows exactly what you and I were designed to be. When we play according to God’s design, we not only find ourselves perfectly fitted to the task, we delight God and benefit others at the same time. That is the overall plan.
I am quite sure you have heard all this before. It is common parlance in Christian circles. But what you might not have realized is that Paul is arguing that if you are not participating in the community exactly as God designed you, you are frustrating His intention, compromising the performance of the community and corrupting yourself. You are like the foot that wants to be the hand. You are trying to drive with your feet. It can be done, but feet weren’t designed to do that kind of work. THEREFORE, if you don’t know exactly how God has designed you to function optimally in the world, you cannot help but experience discouragement and disappointment. When we aren’t doing what God designed us to do, we don’t have joy at work. We don’t experience avodah, that wonderful Hebrew concept that work and worship are the same thing.
There’s more to come on this subject. Paul does not leave us wondering who we were born to be. But it starts right here, with this word gar. The transforming process is designed to push you to the place where you ask, “Who am I supposed to be?” Are you there yet?
Topical Index: Transformation