I guess I just have to pick one and go for it.
I'm still reading through The Normal Christian Life. I just had to share more. Nee is speaking about the Body of Christ and before this quote below he states that the Body is not an illustration but a fact. We ARE the Body of Christ.
"In Adam I have the life of Adam, but that is essentially individual. There is no union, no fellowship in sin, but only self-interest and distrust of others. As I go on with the Lord I soon discover, not only that the problem of sin and of my natural strength has to be dealt with, but that there is also a further problem created by my "individual" life, the life that is sufficient in itself and does not recognize its need for, and union in, the Body. I may have got over the problems of sin and the flesh, and yet still be a confirmed individualist. I want holiness and victory and fruitfulness for myself personally and apart, albeit from the purest motives. But such an attitude ignores the Body, and so cannot provide God with satisfaction. He must deal with me therefore in this matter also, or I shall remain in conflict with his ends. God does not blame me for being an individual, but for my individualism. His greatest problem is not the outward divisions and denominations that divide his Church, but our own individualistic hearts.
Yes, the Cross must do its work here, reminding me that in Christ I have died to that old life of independence which I inherited from Adam, and that in resurrection I have become not just an individual believer in Christ but a member of his Body. There is a vast difference between the two. When I see this I shall at once have done with independence and shall seek fellowship. The life of Christ in me will gravitate to the life of Christ in others. I can no longer take an individual line. Jealousy will go. Competition will go. Private work will go. My interests, my ambitions, my preferences, all will go. It will no longer matter which of us does the work. All that will matter will be that the Body grows."
I pray this revelation over the Church.
This has made me think a lot about marriage, especially in the American Church. The idea of unity has become foreign and confused. I see divorce right and left in Jesus believing churches, husbands and wives living individual lives under the same roof, marriages falling apart because they just don't talk anymore. But the original intent for marriage was to become ONE, to be united. And if we can't really understand what it means to be united with our spouse, then how in the world can we understand what it means to be One Body of Christ?
Believe me, Andy and I are far from being One. But I must say, we have come far. We have plowed and paved through many roads in 10 years, only to find out we have to plow and pave again. I have said things to Andy that have been so hurtful, it pains me even to think of it. We have spoken out scary, truthful emotions and feelings that have caused sadness, grief, and distrust. But we are still married. And honestly, I am not sorry that we had to walk through all of that. We have asked forgiveness over and over again, forgiven over and over again.
Because of this, Andy and I are united. Not always on the same page, but united. One of us always "rolls to the middle" (one of my favorite Sara Groves songs, by the way) no matter how mad we are. And in this unity, there is safety. I know what I can lean on Andy for. We work together and we don't get jealous of one another. I am a better parent when he is around. I find peace and completeness when Andy is home.
The Body of Christ is definitely a fact. We are the Living, Breathing, Body of Christ. And there is no program or scientific method of how to understand this, it is only the Holy Spirit who can give us revelation in this. And it takes us, as the Body, to not give up, to forgive, to be honest, to be humble and to pursue one another. Just like marriage, it is a process of finding true love and letting yourself be vulnerable. (Lord, help us to be vulnerable in safe places.)
Lord Jesus, help us to see that we are not just individual believers seeking holiness, but in fact, One Body that brings Him glory and truly satisfies Him.