“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” Ephesians 4:11-14 NIV
We continue our miniseries of devotions called “Christmas Warfare”. With all the negative and uncertainty that is around us in this Christmas season, what are we as the Church to do in these times where joy could be hard to find and experience? I believe Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 gives us the answer. (Take some time to read these verses and the previous two devotions.) In this series we are breaking down five things Paul instructs the Church to do especially in times of trials. A quick review... Wake Up, Stand Up, Grow Up, Power Up and Love! Today we look at the importance of growing our faith.
Let’s begin by reacquainting ourselves with who the Church is. The Greek word used for the Church is Ekklesia and it means, “Called out ones”. Called out of what? We who believe in the Lord Jesus are called out of the world. We no longer live for ourselves, but for Him, doing what He has called us out of darkness to do. This means we are different. To help us in this assignment, Jesus who is the head of the Church gave us the gifts of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip believers to do works of service in order for the Church, the body of Christ to grow. Why is this important? Keep reading... so that we don’t act like babies who are spiritually immature, instable or gullible. I think that may be some of the problem the church in America is facing. We have too many in the church playing “grown up” instead of being grown up. The world needs the church to be mature!
One of my fondest memories of my oldest son was when he wanted to shave with dad. I put him on a stool and gave him the can of shaving cream. He pushed the button and laughed as it filled his tiny hands and overflowed to the floor. I then showed him how to put it on his face and he made himself a beard. Now it came time to shave. So, I handed him the razor.... NOT!!!!! There was no way I was giving him a razor. Why? He was immature, instable and gullible. It wasn’t his fault. He was only three. He did not know how to handle a razor nor was his body ready to shave. But he wanted to be like me and so that morning, he got to pretend to be a “grown up” and shave without the weapon in his hand. Now he is 28. He knows how to handle a razor. He grew up and no longer needs to pretend to be an adult. I taught him, he learned. Now one day he will do the same for his kids.
Just like my son was not ready for the razor, there are many believers who are not mature enough to handle the weapons God wants to put into your hands. In order for you to be able to not hurt yourself and others, you need to grow up. This is why Jesus gave us the gifts to the Church. These ministries help us to grow up knowing how to handle the Word of God known as the sword of the Spirit. They teach us how to war in prayer and stand in faith. As we grow, we wield the spiritual weaponry that makes the enemy flee. We get beyond the shaving cream and get skilled with the razor.
If you are a believer God does not want you playing “Grown Up”. He has given you everything you need to be grown up. That is why you and I both need the Ekklesia! I know it is hard right now with all the social distancing, but without the Church we cannot grow up in the faith and be equipped to stand against the enemy’s schemes in spiritual maturity, stability and confidence . Just going to church is like playing with can a shaving cream. You get to push the button and make a beard. God has called you to do more. Allow God’s Church to help you grow.