The living, resurrected Jesus actually lives inside individual Christ-followers. When we surrender to and actively obey His inner promptings, He animates us from the inside out, like a human hand activates a puppet.
Each Christ-follower contains the living Jesus, however, as independent individuals, we are not the New Testament body of Christ. To be the actual (not symbolic) body of Christ, we must allow Jesus to call us out of our self-focus, gather us together in humility, and connect us in genuine community under His direct and immediate control and headship.
The New Testament gives the following characteristics of the actual body of Christ (His ekklesia). It is:
Connected — “In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” –Romans 12:5
Community — “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” –Colossians 3:15
Caring actions — “To equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” –Ephesians 4:12
Codependent — “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; or again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.'” –1 Corinthians 12:21
Christ-controlled — “He (the living resurrected Jesus) is the Head of the body, the church (ekklesia).” –Colossians 1:18
Coordinated by the Holy Spirit — “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” –1 Corinthians 12:12-13
Diverse –“One body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function.” –Romans 12:4