“Let Us make man in Our Image, after our likeness…” Genesis 1:26
God used His own form and function (Father/Son/Holy Spirit) as the pattern when He designed our human (spirit/soul/body) bodies. God sees, hears, breathes and smells, tastes, runs, cry’s, laughs, loves, hates, fights, rests, jests and every other emotion and function we have. We can learn a lot about God by looking at our own design and function. It’s especially instructive when we take a look at ourselves through an anatomical filter as a family, a bride and a corporate man. The silliness, futility and unworkable-ness of a body trying to pretend it’s a corporation, or that it has more than one head, or that its members can be disconnected from one another and live, becomes painfully obvious.
Deconstructing our current forms and functions through the lens of the fundamental characteristics of human anatomy, physiology, psychology, thought, actions et al, will inform us that when God created man in His own image and likeness, He designed every part of our existence to be in his image too.
When He indwells you and me by faith, we become members of Him, and together with other members, we constitute His body, with Jesus Christ being the chief member, and our Head. Like the Godhead, we share His Life, move when He moves, rest when He rests.
In designers jargon, the axiom ‘form follows function’ is the primary operating principle upon which all design is based and understood. Because God created the world round, it is able to spin on its axis, whereas had it been square, oblong or triangular, it might wobble.
Because we have four fingers and a thumb (form) we designed the guitar to hold 6 strings that we’re able to press simultaneously (function). If we had two fingers instead, the guitar might look and sound very different.
The shape (form) determines the operation (function).
So, logically, one could expect the church to operate (function) similar to how human bodies do, individually and collectively. Foremost in the design of the church body, there can only be one mind governing us. One Head, one mind. Form determines function.
While our human bodies (spirit/soul/body) have the capacity to act differently in many ways, in several dimensions, environments and circumstances, even simultaneously, we never act independently from the head. In all things, the head reigns supreme and fully in charge of every thought and movement of our body members. And all connection between members goes through the head. The principles, abilities and limitations of human anatomy are likewise the principles and shadow image of the shape and functions of the church.
As our Head, Jesus is the only one with the ability to know what the body needs, how to meet that need and how to interact with the many environments we encounter. We as His body, may send signals (prayer, supplication, worship) to the head, and will receive from the head (revelation, knowledge, understanding, wisdom) but we don’t act without the head. In human anatomy, when the body acts independent of the head, we have a problem. In the church, when Jesus is the Head, the body is at rest, awaiting His impulses and command, and is free of dis-ease. If I had to diagnose what disease the church currently suffers from, I’d pin it on a spiritual form of Parkinson’s.
It’s really hard for us educated moderns to imagine what daily life could be like with Jesus in charge of EVERYTHING. Many of us would be offended at Him, resenting His request for us to voluntarily surrender our every movement to His loving control. Most would say it’s impossible to live life without us exercising some form of control. It just wouldn't be healthy to have no say in anything important in life. And because He would NEVER force us to submit, or obey Him, the tension between our head and hearts would be very draining, until we decided one way or the other whose head was going to run things. Were we to lay down our lives daily as He lived, and commanded us to, we would be as good as dead to our own interests and importance. It would cost us everything to obtain a crown of glory in His kingdom.
EXACTLY! Now we’re getting to the heart of the Kingdom of God, and real church life.
In contrast, it wasn't hard at all for those who walked with Jesus, to trust Him completely, relinquishing control and humbling themselves before God and one another. His presence was so powerful, and His love so all consuming, that they felt no need to be in charge of anything or anyone. As religious zealots and law conscious disciples learned to trust Jesus, AND Jesus in one another, their fear bound traditions of law and punishment fell away like dirty rags, and new habits of grace, humility and gentleness filled their lives. A palpable presence of Gods love among them, and an abiding sense of worth and equality among the brethren washed away centuries of misogyny, slavery, abuse, bitterness and competitiveness. A hilarious generosity and serving one another ruled every home, every heart and galvanized previously warring tribes into one family, one faith, one baptism, with one passion; to let Jesus express Himself among them, together. Life itself became second in importance to the 1st love for Him and one another.
The transformation among the early church disciples was so profound, that within a few decades, the whole world took notice that they were like Jesus. These previously anarchistic Jews, who had killed their own king, were now humble and loving men and women, who were transforming their culture without programs, money, a coherent theology, trained leaders, place’s to meet, basic literacy or even a far reaching knowledge of the scriptures.
Do you think Jesus is comfortable with His body member’s sick, weak, warring, lusting for the world or running around the hamster wheel of religious works? Not a chance. He’s just as ready to fix our messed up generation as he was His own.
God’s eternal plan hasn't changed, it’s right on time on His plot line and we are exactly where He wants us. All that’s missing is for us to stop listening to and following other voices, and start to follow Him as the Head, as He leads us to unity and faith, the way He’s led countless others before us.
And the genius of His plan is that He designed everything to be done together, in close friendship and fellowship with one another. The bond of closeness, the courage, the faith and super human strength that is born out of a band of men and women with nothing left to live for except their lover and one another, is the stuff that legends are made of. When we abandon our puny individual vision of Jesus and me, and become caught up in Jesus and us, the world become alive, and death becomes a toothless lion.
This is what Jesus meant by seeking 1st His kingdom. If we will do this, He will add all the things we need to our lives.
The future for the church is bright brethren, even a midst trials and tribulation, as darkness descends upon the world.
Bow before Him now. Surrender now. Obey His voice now.