I like to crochet, but I have no idea how to knit. I enjoy crocheting because it can be so relaxing, while at the same time I am making something that me or my family can use. Even though I haven't learned how to knit, I can create items on a knitting loom. I have enjoyed teaching my kiddos how to use a knitting loom. By using the loom, they have made hats for themselves and to donate. Knitted and crocheted works has a small downside; I'm sure you have experienced the pain of what happens when a thread is pulled in a sweater and creates a hole. When that happens, you quickly learn that every stitch on a knitted or crocheted item is dependent on all the other stitches. If one stitch is compromised, all the other stitches surrounding it will also be compromised and will eventually cause the whole thing to fray. Unity in the body of Christ is similar. Please read Ephesians 4:13-16.
I first want to remind you that verse 13 is referring to the fact that God will continue to gift the church with leaders until we all come to a place of unity that measures up to Christ's standard. We are told that once we achieve this unity and maturity, we will not be tossed by every wave and influenced by false teaching. I find this interesting because this is not achieved maturity alone, but it also requires unity. When we are experiencing a unity in Christ, it becomes a protection for us as well. I wonder if that is because such a unity requires accountability with one another and that accountability will keep us in line with God's truth.
Instead of being tossed and turned by the wind and waves, we will speak the truth in love. The next thing we will experience is that we will grow more like Christ. The Greek brings out interesting dynamics in this verse because the word, pas is used to tell who will grow more like Christ. It is a word that means all or every, but it is used in two different ways. It can be used to mean literally all or everything (everyone), but it can also be used to mean in a collective sort of way. For example it can mean that it is a collection of some of all types (ie. Jews, Gentiles..."). If you remember, Paul wrote of the unprecedented unity that the Jews and Gentiles have in Christ - but not every Jew and Gentile participated in this unity. To me, this is kind of like saying that each individual in the collection of the body will come more and more like Christ. Basically, it is when we are speaking the truth in love with one another and using accountability, we will as individuals grow closer to God as we grow closer to God as a whole.
Verse 16 tells us that the whole body is fitted together for the benefit of each other. This is where the knitting comes in. The phrase that is translated as "be fit together" uses the Greek word, symbibazō. This word is multi-faceted in its definitions. One of the definitions is to unite or knit together (see footnote 1). This gives such a wonderful word picture as the verse continues to say, "As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love." The health of the whole body relies on each and every part (or stitch). Just as each stitch in knitting and crocheting is reliant on all the other stitches, the body of Christ needs each part to do its own special work. God created us unique to everyone else for a purpose. He has given each of us a unique work in the body of Christ! The rest of the body is dependent on each one of us to do our special work. It really is awesome the way God put us together in this unique body of Christ!
Are you doing your special work in the body?