MEMBERS OF THE BODY, a devotion for 4 May 2017 Anno Domini
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:14-25 (KJV)
A human body, created by God, is composed of many members each differing in function and purpose. We have a beautiful and poetic description of some of these members given in Ecclesiastes: “1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; 2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: 3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, 4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; 5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: 6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. 7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Eccl 12:1-7 (KJV)
I will not go into the details of the various parts of the body described in this text above (a matter for another devotion), but may it suffice to say that the above verses reveal the debilitating effects of age and sickness on the body. All organic bodies are subject to this cycle of life described.
There is one body of the man or woman, and another of a higher plateau – the Body of the Church which is the Bride of Christ. Both bodies have similar members represented by function and purpose. Let us consider some of the members of the body according to their parallels in the Church.
The member of the body that provides the greatest source of awareness is the eye. It usually provides the first sensation to the brain at the awakening moment, and greater information throughout the day than any other organ. It requires Light in order to respond with images for the brain. “The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.” Luke 11:34-36 (KJV) To the Church, the Eye is the Holy Bible. It is a “Lamp unto our feet and a Light unto our path.” A Church, or person, without the Word of God is blind and defenseless against the ill winds of the world. Of course, the Eye of the Church requires light to function, and that Light is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Light of the World. In the animal and human kingdom, there are sets of two eyes. This gives us perspective in vision. So, the Church has the Word (Lord Jesus) and the perspective (Holy Ghost) to give us understanding and wisdom. There are many seekers of filthy lucre who know well the Word, but have no light of understanding. Christ has told us that we must worship not with the Word (Truth) only, nor with the Spirit only, but both in Spirit and in Truth. So, the human body has eyes to see, and the Church has eyes for wisdom and understanding.
THE EARS: Most of us have two ears except perhaps the servant of the Sanhedrin who lost his ear to Peter’s sword in the Garden of Gethsemane. The ear is the second greatest source of knowledge. Many ears are tone deaf to the Gospel. They are unable to hear the Voice of the Lord for the Holy Spirit has not opened their understanding to them of it. They have good physical ears, but their spiritual ears silent wonders to darkness. Good spiritual eyes that see, and ears that hear, are truly a blessing of the Lord. “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” Matt 13:15-16 (KJV) The ears of the Church Body are those who receive the truth and testify of that Truth of the Gospel to lost souls, and to those who stand in fellowship.
Though it cannot see, or hear, the Tongue is the most powerful member of the body for hurt and ruin. It is not designed for learning but for publishing. The editor of that publisher is the heart. “Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” Mark 7:18-23 (KJV) The Tongue of the Church is its collective body of believers. There is often more vicious and cruel gossip that originates from the pews of the Church than from the stools and tables of the local bar. What a disgrace, Reader!
We have all heard those unfounded rumors that grow into juggernauts of deceit and lies that crush an innocent member of the Church. It may begin as the camel’s nose that first enters into the skirt of the tent, but finally the whole camel enters leaving no room for the tent’s owner. “3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” James 3:3-12 (KJV)
If your boots are coated with mud and cow pies, you have not been walking on the good path. Our feet determine the way that we go. If we follow that light provided by God, we shall be well; but if not, we gather the filth of the world and her deceitful pleasures. The feet determine our direction of movement, and righteousness, and sin, are diverse directions: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Psalms 1:1-3 (KJV) The Feet of the Church are her missionaries and her good works of faith.
Our hands may be instruments of mercy, or of murder. They are servants, also, of the heart. They must be willing and ready to perform the hearts command. If they are Christian hands, they must be diligent in doing good and helping our neighbors. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Eccl 9:10 (KJV) “Idle hands are the workshop of the devil” according to Mr. Franklin. All of the members of the Church are the Hands of the Church. We must be busy in doing good, or else we will find evil works to do.