fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

Why are you here?

Why are you here? by Julie McAllen

Have you ever started a new job uncertain of your duties? Standing around doing nothing not because you’re lazy or unwilling but because you’re just not sure what it is you’re supposed to be doing? It’s an awful feeling. If you’re lucky, the company gave you an employee handbook to study and a qualified trainer to answer your questions as you ease into the new position. If not, you end up learning by trial and error.

When Jesus “hired on” his first twelve, he remained present with them for three years to train them in as his apostles. He referred often to their “employee handbook” the old law covenant making it relevant and applicable for them. The apostle John said he had seen with his eyes and touched with his hands the word of life (1 Jo 1:1) Imagine being able to touch with your own hands the body of Christ whom you serve. Wouldn’t it have been nice to walk hand in hand with the King himself for three years when you first became a Christian?

Interestingly enough, those first trainees in the kingdom of God who could touch the body of Christ pretty much stood around doing nothing during those first few training years. In fact, the King didn’t even expect much from them until he physically left the planet. Instead, He promised a Helper would come and finish their training and then the real work would begin. They were told to wait, not work.

3After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:3-8)

When the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them, they got to work. They didn’t stand around not knowing what they were supposed to be doing for they were completely equipped for every good work and they knew why they were there. Do we, the church, know why we’re here?

How would you answer that question? I’m not asking it as a member of the world, I am asking it of myself and of us all as the body of Christ, the church, here on earth. Why are we here? What is the purpose of the church on earth today?

In the secular world we’re looking for purpose in careers, relationships, or some final remark on our lives through fame. In Christian circles the language may change to “what is my calling?” yet the sense of wasted potential is the same and produces that standing around-doing nothing syndrome. I think many in the church today are like that employee in training. We’re not unwilling or lazy, we just don’t quite understand what it is we’re supposed to be doing. A good place to start would be the employee handbook, the Bible.

16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17)

So we’ve got the manual. It promises to train and equip us for every good work. Those early apostles only had the scriptures of the Old Testament, we have even more in our Bibles and the convenience of preferred translations, cross references, and chapter and verse location. We may have a better manual, but again, they saw and felt Jesus himself! He dwelt among them. They witnessed miracles, healings and heard him pray. He himself trained them. But church, remember his words to them, “wait for the gift my Father promised” (Acts 1:4). The effectiveness of the church was dependent upon the gift of the Holy Spirit then and it is just as dependent on Him today. Have you asked for this gift? And for what purpose?

Why were you saved?

The reason you were saved by grace was for a work He designed and prepared just for you.

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:8-10)

And the reason he gave gifts in men, was to edify the church and give glory to the GIVER not the gift (2 Cor 9:11-15).

So you do have a calling and purpose. We all do. Each and every member of the body of Christ is valuable to God and to one another. Do you realize the impact we have on this earth? We were not left here just so we could enjoy a Sunday morning service together. We are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20). In other words, we are here to represent him on earth. We are the physical missing link.

19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Cor 6:19-20)

Our individual bodies have been bought and washed by the blood of Jesus. Why was this necessary? When our Holy God came to this earth in the form of Jesus Christ, He prepared a body to inhabit (Heb 10:5). We too had to be prepared for our purpose as the body of Christ.

3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

7Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

8“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

9“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. (John 13:3-11)

The act of washing the disciple’s feet was not just to represent the humility of our Lord and therefore a lesson in serving others, but within it Jesus was also preparing the body. His time to depart was at hand. He was about to break the bread and disperse it among those who would now become his body on earth.

16Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. (1 Cor 10:16-17)

Do you want to participate in the body of Christ? Be his hands and feet? Then we must be washed, for the Holy God wants to inhabit His temple. Our bodies, the temples he wants to use, are unclean and tainted by sin.  The Holy Spirit has come in power to clean out our temples and make it a house of prayer. The reason He forgives us our sins is because He needs a clean place to stay. If you want to be used by God, be cleansed by God. For unless he washes you, you have no part in him.

Jesus offered his body in sacrifice. He was completely without sin. That means each and every member of his individual body had not succumbed to sin. Though the body of Christ as a whole has been cleansed, we as individuals need our feet washed daily. We died with Christ, we were buried with him in baptism, and we were raised with him in his resurrection. In these fragile jars of clay the life of Jesus is revealed (2 Cor 4:7-11)

12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Ro 6:12-14)

When we lay it all down at the cross to be cleansed we will be a people ready, willing and able to let the indwelling Spirit of Christ perform his work through us. Were you  “hired on” to stand around and call yourself an employee or actually do the work of the Master? Remember, you died. Remember, he made you a new creation by filling you with his Spirit. And by that Spirit, you have been empowered. Do you know and trust that the power that resurrected Jesus from the dead is the same power that is in you?

18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.  (Eph 1:18-23)

Yes, the dwelling of God is with man. Church! We are his body. And his body has been given authority, power and dominion under the headship of Jesus Christ. Has the world outside of Christ seen and touched us, his body? Have you shared your gifts? Why are we still here?

4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Ro 12:4-8)

Do you know your gift? If not, have you asked?

1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.” 9(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
(Eph 4:1-16)

The promised power is here. I liken it to an inheritance waiting for each of us in the bank. Too many of us go through life waiting to receive heaven, just biding our time until we get there. But Jesus promised an abundant life here and now. By the blood of Christ we will indeed go to heaven, but meanwhile there’s a million dollars sitting unused in an account with our name on it! We’re invited to draw from that account right now as we navigate our way through this earthly existence. And that inheritance isn’t just for one person, it is to be shared among the body. I don’t want to greedily hoard any of it for myself and know I benefit from what others share with me as well. So please, seek out your gift to be used within the body. And love the body as your own (Eph 5:29).

How does the power manifest itself in each of us?

7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. 12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (1 Cor 12:7-13)

For the building up of God’s one body here on earth, gifts were given which He determined. You had no say, your mama had no say. The gifts were given to EACH ONE as He determined. Therefore, none are useless, they are very necessary, though some are more recognized than others. It is obvious reading through Paul’s letter to the Corinthians that some were boasting of their gifts and viewing others as not even being part of the body by their lack of manifesting those same gifts. What a shame!

21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Cor 12:21-27)

Who in the body of Christ is considered “unpresentable?” Paul says the presentable parts need no special treatment but the parts that seem to be to be less honorable are to be treated with special honor. I am wondering if the presentable parts mean pastors, teachers and those given physical ministries. Their work becomes known by the words they speak, the books they write, the people they heal, feed or clothe. But what about the behind-the-scenes work of prayer warriors and intercessors? Often we never know the people who prayed us through a battle or carried our burden in their own flesh (Gal 6:2; Col 1:24). What about mothers and fathers whose sole ministry is raising up children who later go on to more recognizable ministries? Maybe it wasn’t just the parents, maybe neighbors and school teachers prayed too. And they never presented themselves to us and told us. We honor our pastors, we quote from Christian authors, we attend conferences by well known teachers and concerts given by names in the business, even the names of those who volunteer to aid the homeless, go on mission trips, or participate in curing diseases can be found on a list, but the names of those releasing the power to do these things may go unheard by men. But they are known by God and are indispensable. There is a reason you are here. You have a grand purpose in the body of Christ, even if never known by the rest of the body in “presentable” form. We should treat you with special honor. Thank you for your prayers! Those who are known as presentable in the body have a different battle. Because they are given gifts that get recognized by men, there is pull by the sin nature to take credit for the “power within” as coming from oneself. That is foothold for the enemy. Praise is the cure for such conceit. For the source of all power is God and He trains us to focus on the GIVER and NOT THE GIFT.

It is Jesus who is praying. It is Jesus who is healing. It is Jesus who is teaching. We are the empty vessels cleansed and open for his usage. Let him be known through us.

I need to stop and thank God for the opportunity to write these things. I need to thank you for reading them.

4We write this to make our joy complete. (1 John 1:4)

My joy is complete. I know why I am here and where God has placed me in the body of Christ. And I am touched right now as I write out my praise to Him for this. I get clogged up inside if I can’t write what He gives me. It becomes too much to bear at times. My joy is complete when I breathe it out on the page. By this I become one of those presentable parts known by men. I am not seeking a name for myself in that, it is simply where God has placed me. I may not go on mission trips to build houses destroyed by disaster, but the words I write might inspire another member of the church to submit to their calling to do so. That builder may never cure a disease, but because they did their part and participated in the relief effort, a child was raised in safety to grow up and embrace his gifts of healing. And those hands may release in a member of the body the gift to teach another generation for Christ. We are an eternal living organism connected by one Spirit. When you realize that, you know Christ has become Lord of heaven and of earth! He is here, in you, waiting to be released to the work he is so eager to perform through you for the benefit of the rest of his church. Do not block it. Accept the power within you and release it!

 7I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Eph 3:7-12)

Now, why are you here?

 Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

September 28, 2010 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , , , , | 1 Comment


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