“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.’” (I Cor. 12:21)
I spent a few credit hours during undergrad in psychology classes. One of my favorites was developmental psychology (I was an education for a couple years). I thought it was incredibly interesting how human interaction plays a massive role in the development of children. A simple Google search will give you story after story of feral children. These are kids that developed without any or very little human interaction.
A case I remember studying in class was that of Victor of Aveyron. Victor was a feral child found in the early 1800. He couldn’t speak, didn’t like wearing clothes or taking baths, and acted as if he were an animal. By the estimates of the doctors of his day, he had lived by himself for many years and was just starting puberty when he was found.
A French physician name Jean Marc Gaspard Itard took Victor in and proceeded to attempt to teach him language and essentially tame the boy. By the time Victor died at age 40, Itard’s years of work had gotten Victor to understand basic questions, wear clothes, bathe, and eat cooked meat. But Victor never once uttered a complete sentence.
Years of isolation away from human beings during the most crucial developmental stages of childhood set Victor’s life on course for a very interesting and, to me, a very sad existence.
Victor never had the interaction of humans in his life as he developed as a child and hence his life as an adult. Our churches have many under or undeveloped Christians. They’re the teens in your church that believe in Jesus, but haven’t developed a passion for anything spiritual. They are the young adults that are Christians, but have the hardest time talking about anything spiritual because they just can’t. They don’t know how. They are the adults that can talk Jesus, but can’t give a clear gospel message. They have the appearance of a Christian, but haven’t grown into the full stature of Jesus.
1 Corinthians gives us a great example of how members of the body of Christ are supposed to interact with each other. And with these interactions comes the spiritual development that our churches need.
We Need Each Other
The church is a body. Every Christian is a member. God placed us in a specific role. And we all need each other.
“But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.” (I Cor. 12:18)
“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.” (I Cor. 12:21)
To isolate ourselves from the rest of the body and say “I have no need for them” is foolish and, well, not Biblical. We need each other to grow. When our human bodies don’t communicate within each other and systems start to do their own thing, we general end up at the doctor’s office or in the hospital.
When the body of Christ has members that isolate themselves from the rest of the body, they become spiritual sick and stagnant in their growth. God specifically placed us in the body of Christ to have a specific role and to influence those around.
The Basis for Mentoring
This a foundation for mentoring. The body of Christ united and working together to help each other grow “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Eyes need the feet to move from point A to point B. And the feet need the eyes to show them the path. So Christians need each other to grow.
We can’t encourage others to live in spiritual isolation and expect full spiritual development. We can’t let those who are spiritual children wander without any interaction with other believers and expect them to lead the church effectively in the future. Paul already told us what happens to isolated spiritual children. They’re “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
We are a body, placed in a role by God. When we fulfill our role to the best or our ability and help those around us develop in their role, we grow as a church into the stature of Christ.
We are the body and we need each other.