In Chapter 12 of The Book of Romans, Paul had used the human body to describe The Church.
The metaphor was to be understood in the sense every part of the body was connected to and completely under the control of the Head. In the case of The Church, the Head is Christ, and The Church is His body. This all makes perfect sense, and greatly helps us to understand how the members of The Church are to be interdependent with each other under the headship of Christ.
But what if the parts of the Body of Christ are all at different levels of maturity?
Can you imagine a one-year-old foot connected to a ten-year-old shin, and a ten-year-old shin connected to a 6-month-old knee?
This is the reality of The Church, (which IS The Body of Christ.)
While we are ALL part of The Body, we have each come into The Body at different times, and our Spiritual maturity levels are different. The Body of Christ is comprised of individual parts of differing backgrounds and maturity. How interesting is that?
Well, it presents the opportunity for a whole lot of difficulty doesn’t it? If the hand has been a hand for 20 years, and the wrist came into Christ’s Body yesterday, how can they possibly work together as a cohesive unit?
The answer is the same as it had been before. Each part must independently respond to the Headship of Christ as it serves to support the other members of The Body. No one part can assume itself any greater than under the complete Headship of Christ. No one part can seek to judge the maturity level competence of any other part except to be thankful for that part and understand new parts – though perhaps considered weaker – may not be.
And this is the paradox Paul presents, which is also noticeable through life experience in The Church. Oftentimes those who have placed their strength in the things they do or don’t do in the name of Christ are those who have in some way placed their strength in themselves and are in fact the weaker members of The Body. This may be true even though they have been present in The Body much longer.
The end of the matter, as Paul says, is for each individual member to act only out of faith as directed by Christ Himself, and to do nothing to hinder the maturing process of any other part by judging the things any other part does or does not do, or by seeking to assert dominance over those perceived to be “younger members.” Heaven forbid any other part be stumbled in their response to The Head by our so-called ‘maturity’ in the things we allow or do not allow in our lives.