Any discussion on behaviour will engender emotions differing from person to person. Why, because your response to behaviour is always directly related to your attitude to relationships.
Today, I wish to focus on the single most important relationship any human is capable of having, your relationship with Jesus Christ. The unavoidable implication of knowing Jesus as Lord is that you are irreversibly adopted into God’s family, the body of Christ, the Church.
The principle of identifying a legitimate member of the body of Christ is the same as Jesus taught his disciples in Matthew 7:16; “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?” Here, fruit are the outward behaviours which are unique to that specific life. Therefore fruit are the tell-tales of what’s in the heart; either showing a connection to the parent life or not, showing likeness which is unmistakable or not.
Fruit for relationships
The fruit Jesus is referring to are the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours which would clearly display a relationship with God to be genuine, or not. This is why the apostle Paul uses the word fruit to explain the controlling presence of God’s Spirit. The evidence of God’s Spirit in a Christian’s life is “the fruit of the Spirit (which) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
In addition, the testimony of Christ’s body is this; “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). Believers recognise where they belong. There is an instinctive drawing toward heaven and the imminent return of Christ to snatch His bride away. Likewise, there is an instinctive fellowship with fellow members of Christ here on earth. This Holy Spirit generated identification forms part of the rich symbolism of Communion; “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17).
These truths enable believers to recognise each other. The nine fold fruit of Holy Spirit, the realization of heavenly citizenship, unity in celebrating Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, plus anticipation of Jesus imminent return. These are what make a Christian stand out from the crowd. Now, just as a believer cannot be separated from Christ; so the body of Christ cannot be dismembered, in spite of the many attempts made by His enemies.
There are significant implications to these amazing relationships. “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” (Romans 12:4-5). The various limbs (members) of Christ’s body are intrinsically knitted together, composing the entirety of Christ’s representation here on earth. This enables an incredible display of God’s wisdom through His design of the body.
If you live Spirit filled, your desire will be to “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15). Holy Spirit authored peace is first of all with God through Christ and secondly with your spiritual family, the body of Christ. This Spiritual peace which is to dominate your hearts will overflow into your relationships, especially with God’s people. Your brothers and sisters in Christ are therefore precious treasures for Christ’s glory and your blessing. Obviously, this should produce a great sense of thankfulness to the Lord and each other.
I encourage you to display behaviour appropriate for the Body of Christ; displaying the value of Christ in your brothers and sister for His glory.