If Jesus as our orphanage was a new thought that I did not understand, Jesus as our head is one that I should have seen all along. But, on Saturday, as I drove and listened to Israel and New Breed’s cd, I heard that image conveyed. And it clicked. Of course. It makes perfect sense.
Can you live without your head? No. Can you live without Jesus? No.
Where is your sense of direction? In your head. And in Jesus.
Sense of balance? Sight? Ability to hear what is being said to you? All in your head, and all in Jesus. What holds all things together? the head. In short, Jesus told us, “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Oh, we think we can. We try. But we are almost as successful as a little pinky toe wandering off to conquer the world. Everything is right when we listen to our head. It takes practice. Training. Falling down more than a few times. An infant does not run right away. It does not walk right away. It does not even crawl right away. The same is true in your recognition of Christ as your head. It will take time for areas of you, of your life, to recognize what Christ is directing you to do and for you to respond correctly. It’s called muscle memory, and there is only one way to get there – trying again and again.
When I type on a keyboard I no longer need to look at the keys (thank you, Mrs. Folkerts and Mrs. Eisenga). It’s automatic. In fact, the more I think about where the keys are, the more confused I become. I simply have to trust my head and my muscle memory. Many of you will plan to establish resolutions. That’s great. But remember two things: 1) there is nothing even close to the rewards of spiritual muscle memory, and 2) every day is an opportunity to try again.
As I start my day, I have knocked so many things down off a shelf in the bathroom. And I am absolutely amazed at how I catch them. There is zero thinking involved, but as one hand sends an object tumbling into the rules of gravity, the other hand instinctively shoots out to exactly where it will be and catches it. It’s pretty impressive, really. And completely impossible without the head. I don’t know what spiritual muscle you want to improve, but just watch what will happen when you keep trying. I cannot tell you how many times I had to type “asdf” in order to get where I am with keyboard skills. Maybe you want to read the Bible every day. Go for it. Maybe you want tithing to be automatic instead of agonizingly thought-involved. Set it up online. Perhaps it is your church attendance. Find one and go. Or volunteering. Or writing. Finally deciding to write every day and putting my muscles to it has been incredibly rewarding to my vision. As I told a dear friend of mine, I was always thinking anyway; now I am thinking on this instead. Spiritual exercise.
Maybe you’re not there yet. That’s okay. Start where infants start. They cannot run. They cannot walk. They cannot crawl. But they can receive love and show love. Do that. That is where all of us begin. And, if we’re honest, we all still have days where we just want to cuddle up close to Jesus and be loved. And we should.
A final point about the physical body correlation. When you cut your hand, or bruise your knee, the experience of pain takes place in your head. Yes, you feel it at your hand or on your knee, but it is because your brain is telling you that you have pain there. Those who have leprosy will be injured but not even know it because of damage to nerves. The experience of the wound stays at the wound because the head does not send out the healing agents. And just as the center of our nervous system is found in our head, so the center of our spiritual nervous system is found in Christ. We, the body, have been cut. That message of pain travels up to our head, and it is received. If your spiritual wounds do not make it to Christ, we will never experience healing. And just as Jesus receives our pain, he also sends out the message of healing so that the wound is restored completely within us. We cannot be healed unless he first receives our pain.
For the spiritual Body, the Church, Jesus is also the head. And we would do well to listen to and rely on his guidance. Too often, we flail about like independent body parts without a single, unifying purpose. We, the Body, have a single unifying purpose – to live and to grow, to love and be loved. But the head must guide in order for that to happen. Recognize the part that you are. Every single part of the body has a purpose. That is also true of the Body. Be the best part that you are. And if you are able to connect with a church body, help them to recognize their role in the Body so that they can work in cooperation with other parts. Crawling is cool. Being loved is awesome. But our head wants us to run!
And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:22,23