Pushing Forward, Toward Fullness
“And He gave SOME as APOSTLES, and SOME as PROPHETS and SOME EVANGELISTS, and SOME as PASTORS and TEACHERS, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the BUILDING UP OF THE BODY OF CHRIST; until we ALL attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the MEASURE of the STATURE of the FULLNESS of CHRIST.”
Ephesians 4:11-13 NASB (Emphasis added).
What a statement. The first thing that probably jumps out are the gifts bestowed on some of the believers. In church, we hear all the time that He equips whom He has called. This passage shows us that He—specifically Jesus, (remember that Paul was talking about Christ descending and ascending in the passages before verse 11)—gave these works of service to certain believers, to build up the Body of Christ. These works of service are the very tasks, or jobs of being an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher.
If we look at these verses for what they are saying, and not a justification for what we want to do in life, these roles are given by God for the perfecting of those whom call Him Lord. In fact, often we have read these works a lot like modern-day job descriptions and overlooked the gift that is the very person Jesus has called to fill the role. It could be one of our dearest friends. Someone we have known our whole lives. Might be someone we only know-of but do not know at all. Could even be someone we personally do not like all that much; even someone that is the brunt of jokes and criticism for the sin-nature that Jesus called them out from. But, to be sure, Christ is the one doing the calling. Not us. It is also clear that these roles require work on the part of the servant as well as those being served. We serve the Body of Christ in our roles and gifts, so that we all may know Christ, may grow up in our faith to maturity, so that we may push forward toward that state which radiates Christ in all that we think, feel, say and do.
This imparts to me that while our Salvation is sure if we believe in Him and profess Him with sincere hearts as the Lord of our lives, the work that we have been given, and the work that is being done within us is never finished on this side of eternity. We should always be reaching for that fullness of Christ, that loving, compassionate, merciful and graceful stature that even while hanging on the cross is demonstrated by Christ asking God to forgive the very people that nailed Him to it.
So, what are we doing to lift each other up and equip within the Body of Christ? What are we doing to tear down? Are we taking actions that strengthen other believers? Are we taking actions that may weaken believers? What about how we affect those new to the faith by how we carry ourselves in our day to day life, or how we present ourselves on social media? Is all our effort going toward reaching that fullness of maturity and helping others in the faith do the same? These are the questions that I find myself asking as I read this. What about you?
Until Next Time,