Last week I addressed the fact that every person is three-part in his or her human design and in his or her purpose in life. Every person is made of a spirit, soul, and body. The human spirit is the source of human power. The human soul is the throne of a person’s life and it is the vehicle by which the administration of one’s life is facilitated. The soul is the bridge between the spirit and the physical. If the human spirit is not empowered by the human spirit made alive by the Holy Spirit within them, it can be susceptible to outside spiritual influences that attempt to attach to the soul in a controlling or manipulating way. The physical life of every person is the means by which human authority is manifested to the world. The human spirit was created to be one with God’s Holy Spirit. When God’s Spirit makes the human spirit alive it is prosperous and it floods the human soul with life. A prosperous spirit produces a prosperous soul. When the human soul is made alive by the life of God within the human spirit, the physical expression of one’s life is that of true prosperity.
3 John 2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
The apostle Paul addresses the three parts of human purpose in connection with being people who are led by the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:1, 2). The subject of his writing was that of power, ministry, and the work of God. More specifically, it is the power, ministry, and work of a person with the life of Christ within them.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
The power, ministry, and work of each and every person is unique to who they were made to be. Each and every person was formed by their heavenly Father with certain motivational giftings within them (Rom. 12:4-8). The Holy Spirit will give His power to each one in a way that compliments who they are in their God-given motivation. For example, He may manifest with words of knowledge, words of wisdom, discerning of spirits, and prophecy in the life of a perceiver. He may manifest with miracles, healings, and words of knowledge in the life of a mercy-gifted evangelist. He may manifest with discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues in the life of an intercessor. The Holy Spirit knows who each one of us is and He will work with us to fulfill our God-given purpose in life.
Each person also has a role to play in the ministry of Christ. There are many members of Christ’s body, but each is different and each functions for the purpose of the whole. As I stated last week, I believe that “any of the charisma of the Holy Spirit can manifest through us, but the Holy Spirit will work with each of us according to the uniqueness of our motivational gifting and our membership ministry in the Body of Christ” (Rom. 12:6-8, 1 Cor. 12:12-26). “I believe that the charisma of the Spirit is meant to empower us as human beings, not as workers of religious activities.” The ministry of Christ is not for the purpose of organizational church life; it is for the ministry of life to others in this world. Membership ministry in connection with others is a part of our destiny in Christ. God has determined who we are, where we fit, and how we bring life to others.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14 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 by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.
As Paul describes the membership ministry of Christ he mentions a foot, a hand, an ear, a nose, a head, and some unpresentable parts (1Cor. 12:15-24). This is hardly a description of all of the body parts, but is merely a highlight of some examples of body parts. We can’t even make a good ‘Mr. Potato-head” out of the few parts mentioned. Perhaps the nine charismas of the Holy Spirit are the same? There are nine categories, but maybe thousands of blends and expressions to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit within and through us. The power of the Spirit and the membership ministry of Christ is meant to reveal the life-giving authority of God to others in this world in a supernatural way. We do not decide who we are in the Body of Christ, we must discover who we are. We must discover our divine connection and function in relationship with others.
I believe that the end of the chapter describes the various works of our purpose in Christ. The power of the Spirit and the ministry of the Spirit through us allow us to be spiritual people in our corporate purpose in life. Just as the body has members, such as a heart, lungs, and various other organs, these things are all part of specific systems of purpose in the human body. There is a repertory system, a circulatory system, a skeletal system, a nervous system, and other systems made of members that work together for a specific purpose. I believe the same is true for human beings made alive in Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:27-31 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
I believe that this last list is a testimony of various works of purpose and they too are not a complete list, just as the members listed in this chapter only represent a few of the members found in the human body. There is a brief description of some examples, but it is not a comprehensive list of the works of God. Again, we cannot even get a good “Mr. Potatohead” from the works mentioned. Apostles, prophets, and teachers are a testimony of works of leadership. Workers of miracles are testimonies of service. Gifts of healings are ministries of compassion. I believe these are examples of some of the works of God. A good one in the list is that of speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues is like the working of the nervous system of the body. I propose that this not the charisma of the power of speaking in tongues here, but a work of a body system. If I hit my thumb with a hammer, thousands of signals will be sent through my nervous system to my head. The feelings and signals of warning sent throughout my body do not hold a headship decision-making authority. They carry a communication authority. Once the head receives the signal of trouble, the head can assess the situation and make a headship decision. Maybe the thumb is cut off and we need to find the missing piece, some ice, and rush to the hospital? Maybe there is a blood blister beneath the thumbnail and we need to get a sharp needle and pierce a hole in the nail to alleviate the pain? Maybe we need a band-aid or even stitches? Maybe it is not too bad and we just need to be sure to keep it out of harms way again? Headship authority needs communication authority to accomplish a complete work. What if we want to point our index finger in a particular direction? No magical signal goes from the head, through the air, and to the finger. Like the mystery of tongues, many signals will go through the body to the finger to accomplish the task. If the elbow should decide that the signal to point is for it, the elbow might throw itself forward and cause the finger to point in the opposite direction of the needed purpose. The body then becomes dysfunctional and frankly a bit embarrassing to the whole body in the sight of every onlooker. I think this kind of thing happens too often in the work of the body of Christ. It is because we don’t desire the best gift. The best gift is the gift that allows us to be who we are for the sake of others. This is our authority. It is our ability to bring life to others by the power of the Holy Spirit, the ministry of Christ, and the work of God through our lives. We make a fantastic us and a not so good someone else.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson