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Bible Ah-Ha! #9

Over time we all come across ideas that change the way we think about ourselves and one another. For me, one of those thoughts is closely connected with 12 Step programs and the Church that we’ve been thinking about together in my last couple of posts. It’s also one of those perspectives that I think help me to see all of life through one of the most basic insights of the Bible.

A well lived life is more like a symphony than a solo.

The point takes nothing away from a solo. I love hearing Willie Nelson sing “September Song,” or LeAnn Rimes do her version of “Blue.” A single voice performance even makes its own life lesson: Every life is like a center-stage solo in the eyes of our Creator. One person at a time, we are all being judged on our own act (Romans 14:7-12).

But its also important to see the way the Bible brings together ideas and people to do things together that could never be done alone. Look at the way, for instance, that:

The Bible orchestrates principles and ideas.

Just as 12 Step programs bring together a set of principles that, when combined with one another, can result in a real change of life, think about the way the Bible links together ideas which together have far more power than they do individually:

1. The Ten Commandments combine to define important moral and spiritual boundaries (Exodus 20:1-17).

2. The 9 “fruit of the spirit” blend to show what it looks like to live “under the influence” of Christ (Galatians 5:22-23).

3. The 7 attitudes taught by Christ in his famous “beatitudes” are all essential to being his kind of peacemaker (Matthew 5:1-10).

4. What the Apostle Peter learned about 7 steps of spiritual growth work together to produce a changed life (2 Peter 1:5-7).

5. Paul’s description of 7 pieces of spiritual armor show us why it’s dangerous to think that being “half-dressed” in Christ would protects us from spiritual attack and failure (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Orchestrating principles then is one thing the Bible does to show us that life is more symphony than solo. But another thing it does is to give us a vision for people living more effectively together than by ourselves. In that sense,

The Bible orchestrates people who need each other.

The apostle Paul used the word picture of the body to make this point when he wrote, “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ… For in fact the body is not one member but many… If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased… And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you” (1Cor 12:12-21).

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7 Responses to “Bible Ah-Ha! #9”

  1. Ted M. Gossard says:

    Being steeped in individualism I think it is hard to read Scripture or look at life as God intends. We’re individuals for sure, but enter into a community in Jesus, and as part of his Body, we’re in this world in mission.

    We need to rethink everything in relational terms, which starts at God’s Being as Trinity, and is a big part of our being made in God’s image. We’re meant for relationship with God and with each other.

    I was recently reminded how we need to see “walking by the Spirit” and the passage of Galatians 5:13-6:10 as communal in orientation, as one can see from going over that passage, though I have tended during my Christian life, to see it otherwise.

  2. Gale L. Jarvis says:

    This is another big problem i have seen not only in our church, but other churchs in our community, that have even split because of not being able to work together,and becuse you have brought it up, it is a problem many places.
    When a piece of a glowing log fire breaks off and separated, it can continue to burn, but only a short time on its own, we must stay connected, not only to be useful, but to continue being excited, and stay on fire for the Lord.
    The Lone Ranger evidently helped a lot of people, but even the Lone Ranger needed his horse and Tonto, a child of God trying to be the Lone Ranger will not be helping others, but will be doing harm, not only to others but to themselves, and to their witness for Christ.

  3. alxhaight says:

    Life is all about relationships. I live alone but I have to have realtionships with other people to grow in my faith and in life generally. Even when I’m alone, I’m never alone as the Holy Spirit lives in me and God never forsakes me. But together with other members of the body, each having their own gift, we work as one in unison with Christ as our head.

  4. wpleasant says:

    I think you have a compelling point of view on the “model” that is repeatedly reflected in scripture of many components required to achieve a desired outcome. The church seems to sometimes swing like a pendulum on dependency on God and dependency on the understandings of man. “Trust in the Lord, with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Prov. 3:5) There is a lot of meat in that verse. Sometimes prayer is relied upon in service at churches initially, but then the business of “ministry” itself can cause many to neglect prayer in the process of serving. This can rob a church of victory and disillusion many, some of whom mistakingly decide to “go it alone”. No matter what your role is in your church, praying is everyone’s responsibility, and I haven’t found a ministry yet that produced lasting fruit without it.

  5. bought1 says:

    We need to learn to think scripturally instead of culturally. This is to be our new mind-set: how can I be of benefit (service) to the body and bride of Christ?
    Instead of the Greek-based- “what’s in it for me?”, we need a new Hebrew-based “love/serve one another” community mindset. The mind of Christ was and is a Hebrew mind. If we pray earnestly for the spirit of repentance, G-d will start the process of sanctification to renew and remake and will be able to accomplish His perfect will in us.

  6. B Murphy says:

    Thank you for this wonderful lesson. I have sufferd years of ill health and prayed for healing and learned that our bodies are temples, not dumpsters, and we have to treat them as such body, mind, and soul. Be careful what you are being fed.

    Second for years and years and years I have prayed to live in harmony with Christ love. Last week during my morning meditation I thought maybe I should look for peoples crosses that they bear. I am trying it out and it is fun. It helps me to listen and watch without judging and and thinking about myself. And I really believe that this blog helped get me to this revelation.

    I’m working on my solo to create better harmony with the symphony.

  7. daisymarygoldr says:

    A solo vs. symphony is a great way to describe the Body of Christ…
    The interesting thing is that the different organs of the body ‘work together’ in perfect ‘coordination’ to accomplish the entire function of the body regardless of each other’s individual capabilities. Similarly each one of us is equipped with abilities that have to be used in ‘harmony’ in order to accomplish the bigger plan of God which an individual cannot achieve on his own. Just as the triune God work together in their different capacities, God desires to see a ‘unity in diversity’ in His church today.

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