All that I'm not, body parts, and fanning the flame + 1 Corinthians 12:14-16, 19 Bible verse printable

Bible verse coloring page "the body of Christ" 1 Corinthians 12:14-16, 18

I don't always feel like I fit in as an artist. I don't watercolor, do calligraphy, paint, or make anything classy, sophisticated or fancy. I draw cute illustrations and write about the Word, but sometimes that feels very small.

Maybe that sounds silly, but I'm guessing you feel the same way about some area of your life. The lane you're in feels narrow and somewhat cramped. You look across to friends speeding by in their own lanes, doing their things, and you think that it's time to try harder or that you're somehow just not enough.

It's been a journey for me the last few years defining what I do well as an artist and learning to put my blinders on and accept this lane that I believe God has me in.

I think this has some application for us who follow Jesus and belong to His body, the Church. Here are a few ways I see myself, and others, struggle with "finding our lane":

We think that because we are not this or that, therefore we don't belong. We focus on the many things that we're not. The things that we do feel empowered to do seem so small in this big broken world that we live in, or in comparison with someone else's abilities.

Or, at the other extreme, because of the gifts we're given, we feel like it's all up to us. This leads to puffing up because, in the diversity of the body of Christ, others are really different than us, and then it leads to despair because we know our deficiencies. 

Other times I think we hold back on our giftings for fear of being "too much." Too forward. Too confident. Too talkative. Unfeminine. 

Maybe you're not even sure what your giftings from God are or how you fit in with the Church at all. Maybe you're so new in your faith that you haven't had enough experience to see what God is empowering you to do to build up the Church. 

If you struggle in any of these areas, I want to lay down a few simple truths from the Word that I hope encourage you.

1. You are a body part, not a single-celled organism. You cannot function alone.
"For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness." (Rom 12:4-8 ESV)
 2. God arranges the body as He sees fit, in His sovereignty. Our job is to remain connected to Jesus, the Head, doing what we're designed to do.
"For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose." (1Co 12:14-18 ESV)
Bible verse coloring page "the body of Christ" 1 Corinthians 12:14-16, 18
What are the implications of these truths for the struggles I mentioned?

If you belong to Christ, you belong to His body. You may feel different from the body of Christ God has placed you in. You may look different. You may think differently and talk differently. You may have a different background and set of experiences. 

Maybe you're single and everyone else is married with kids. Maybe you're married with kids and everyone else is single. Maybe everyone else grew up in Church and you grew up knowing nothing at all about Jesus. Maybe your personality and interests make you feel like the odd-one out.

But let's not believe the lie that we don't belong.

By the way, if you see things differently, just maybe you bring something to the body that is missing. 

Notice that everything is disorganized and chaotic in your small group? Maybe God wants to use your administrative gifts to bring some order. 

Notice that the lessons for the kids need to be more meaty? Maybe God has called you to teach or help develop better materials. 

Overhear a conversation about the how terrible abortion is and (while you agree) all you can think of is the past God redeemed you from and grief for women who make that choice? Maybe God has gifted you with mercy for the broken. 

Hear a friend talk about her deep anxiety over a work situation, and your heart wells up with encouraging words and a desire to help? Maybe God has gifted you with encouragement.

Hear of a friend who is sick and you immediately think of the things she might need (childcare, food, etc)? Maybe God has gifted you to know how to help others.

We need each other. Alone, no, we are not "enough." It's okay that our work is limited. We need to learn to think of ourselves with "sober judgment." 
"For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned." (Rom 12:3 ESV) 
You were designed with certain deficiencies, not because God doesn't like you, but so we could depend on each other. That means than if you're not part of a church body, you can't function in the way God has designed. 

Don't like the church? Yes, she's broken and sometimes ugly, so broken that Jesus had to die to redeem and cleanse her. Because the body is made up of redeemed, yet still sinful people, it ain't gonna be peaches and cream this side of complete redemption, folks. We look more like a construction zone than a finished project. But in my experience, this crazy labaratory for the Gospel (I wrote about that HERE) has taught me more about God's shocking grace than anything I've ever experienced. 

Let's always keep in mind that Christ died for the body, to make her His own. He did not reject Her, so neither should we! 

The body will be very diverse. Think of a thumb versus a spleen (what does a spleen even do?). So different, yet imagine functioning without either (just googled "what does a spleen do?" and you don't want to be without one). Your sister in Christ may function in the body in a completely different way than you. Be her cheerleader. Encourage her. Value her, even if you don't completely understand her importance.

God is in charge of the body. Everyone He brings to your Body brings something you need. And beyond our local church bodies, God sees the entire body of Christ spread out across your city, your state, your country, and the world. He is orchestrating it all. 
"But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose." 1 Corinthians 12:19 (ESV)
Use your giftings boldly in the Spirit because you are trusting God to work.
"I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began," (2Ti 1:5-9 ESV)
Paul reminds Timothy that the Spirit he was given is not characterized by fear, but by power, love, and self-control. What do you think Paul meant when he told Timothy to "fan into flame the gift of God"? Later he tells Timothy not to be ashamed of the message of the Gospel. 

Maybe Paul is encouraging Timothy (and us) to not be crippled by fear, but be empowered by the Spirit for the work prepared for us to to, all "not because of our works, but because of His own purpose and grace." 

In what ways has fear cripples the work of God through His Spirit in your life?

Have you unknowingly bought into any of Satan's lies about your place in the body of Christ? 

Is your local (and beyond!) body of Christ benefiting from your presence, your gifts, and even your needs (ie. the opportunity to serve you)?

The maturity and stability of the body of Christ is at stake here, which is sobering to me.
"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christuntil we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes." (Eph 4:11-14 ESV)
I made today's printable Bible verse coloring page from 1 Corinthians 12 to speak some truth to our hearts. You can download your page HERE or by clicking on the image below!*

Bible verse coloring page printable
PRAYING the Word
Jesus, I need your Spirit to help me function in your body as you've designed. Help me to fan into flame the gifts you've given me. Help me live by your Spirit, not my flesh. Forgive me for believing any lies about my place in the body.

QUESTIONS to ask about the verses:

1. If we are to view believers in Christ as a body, what does that mean for how we see each other?
2. In what ways do you struggle with how God designed you to function in the body? 
3. Are you functioning well in the body of Christ? What is holding you back?

*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!

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  1. I thank you for this. I so enjoy your postings and drawings. I can not even draw a straight line so I admire anyone who can draw in any capacity, so please keep on drawing!

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