Communication: The Nerves of the Body of Christ

Nervous System

In the physical body, the nervous system serves an important purpose in transmitting signals from the brain in order to control muscles and other parts of the body. The nervous system also serves the purpose of warning the brain of possible problems throughout the body through the signal of pain.

Physical pain, while unpleasant, can be of great benefit as a warning to avoid greater damage to the body. This benefit of pain is best seen with some individuals who are born with a diminished or total lack of the feeling of pain (known as Congenital Insensitivity to Pain). Such people must take great care with their bodies. For instance, if playing sports one could literally break a bone without realizing it in a fall. Any wound left untreated could become infected without the person knowing.

A Functional, Working Family

The body of Christ is a functioning, spiritual family of brothers and sisters. Within the Bible, this family is also likened to the physical body, with various members serving different functions (Rom. 12:4ff). Each of these members have their own concerns, own trials, and own burdens to bear (Gal. 6:5). The question becomes, with all these different members all a part of the same body, how does one know whether a particular member is suffering or in need of encouragement?

The answer can be seen in the example of the human body above. The body of Christ must have a healthy “nervous system” that warns other members of problems, shares a particular member’s pain, and shares another member’s joy (Rom. 12:15). This system would be a natural response to pain, used immediately so as to protect both the individual member and the body as a whole.

Communication

So what is this “nervous system” in the body of Christ? It is simple communication. For the body to bear the burdens of a member (Gal. 6:1), the member has to communicate his/her need to the body. Someone who learns he has offended his brother is obligated to go to that brother (Mat. 5:23, 24), but that brother also must be aware of the offense in the first place. When these needs go without being communicated, the body is left ignorant of any problem. A body without this “nervous system” of communication is a body that is in great danger from every possible injury in the world.

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