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"Let's grow in every way into Christ"

June 17, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. 12 His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ 13 until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we aren’t supposed to be infants any longer who can be tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others. 15 Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ, 16 who is the head. The whole body grows from him, as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does its part.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

“God’s goal,” Ephesians said, “is for us to become mature adults…fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ.” At times we find that unity with Christ and one another is still hard. But God calls us to become spiritually mature so that even another person’s errors or unloving behavior cannot knock us off course. That doesn’t mean becoming a passive “doormat.” This kind of community requires us to speak the truth in love, with our understanding of truth grounded in thoughtful Bible study guided by the Holy Spirit so that we become more like our Savior Jesus Christ. All our different gifts need to work together so that we can strengthen and equip one another.

  • Building God’s kingdom in order to change the world calls us to take our faith beyond just the weekend worship service. Can you recall some of the steps that moved you beyond being an “infant” in your faith, and helped you grow toward greater maturity? What are you doing in your day-to-day life that nurtures spiritual maturity in you and others, building up the body of believers in love? What one or two items are most clearly on your growth horizon right now?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, you are building me—you are building us—into a community of spiritually mature people, growing in every way into your life of love. Help me to do my part as a faithful builder growing more and more into your image. Amen.

GPS Insights

Mindi McKenna

Mindi McKenna

Mindi McKenna is a 23-year member of Resurrection. She enjoys teaching Disciple 1 and Meet Your Bible classes, volunteering with our Refugee Welcome Team, and participating in a women’s small group and in the Faith and Fellowship Sunday School class. Mindi is passionate about equipping people to share God’s love with others.

Years ago, I taught in an MBA program for physicians, nurses, and medical students. We weren’t just professors, we were “leader launchers!” How did we do it? We gave them textbooks to read. We described our own experiences as health care executives. And we designed experiences that went beyond helping them gain knowledge–experiences that actually grew them into leaders. For instance, we equipped them to influence people by assigning projects they could only complete if they persuaded others to help. We equipped them to resolve team conflicts by creating conditions of stress and strife, and then supporting them as they wrestled through issues together.

That’s how God develops us. He gave us a textbook (the Bible). He sent Jesus as a role model (and so much more!) He has us experience situations that grow us up spiritually. For instance, God teaches us to love others by putting people in our lives who seem downright unlovable. He develops our trust in Him by allowing us to go through things that seem unendurable unless we rely on Him.

This week’s GPS posts have focused on “Becoming Better” by studying Scripture. They’ve reminded us that in order to grow in the fullness of Christ, we must read the Bible and apply it to our lives. Today’s GPS Scripture describes a community of Christians who equip each other for works of service and who build each other up to reach unity in faith. (Note: unity in faith is not the same thing as uniformity in opinion.) People who speak the truth in love. Who each do their part to share God’s love.

A few times in my life, I’ve been in a community like that. Like now, for instance. People in my small group and my Faith and Fellowship Sunday School class are continually “building each other up.” When one grieved the death of a loved one, another brought food and cried with them. When one struggled with spiritual doubts, another listened and prayed with them. When one became housebound, another planted flowers in their yard. When one had an inaccurate perception of the Bible, another gently yet firmly corrected their misunderstanding.

Perhaps you’re wondering, “But what good does it do for the world’s neediest people if Christians only support each other?” Fair question. But that’s not all these people do. In addition to encouraging each other, they also help in food pantries. Visit people in hospitals, prisons, and care homes. Read to kids in our church’s Partner Schools. Pack kits of soap and toothpaste for earthquake survivors in Syria. Donate dishes and bedding to prepare homes for newly arriving refugees.

Why do all that? Because when we study Scripture, we learn that Jesus wants us to feed the hungry, care for the sick, visit prisoners, help orphans, and share generously with the poor. So we do!

Each time I’ve been in a community of Christians who were building each other up and spreading God’s love, it’s been wonderful. But I’ll admit–there have been times in my life when I didn’t have that. I didn’t have someone to learn from or pray with, to confide in or lean on. Why? I don’t know. What I do know is this: Being in that type of community is so awesome, it’s worth pursuing! If you don’t have people with whom you can “speak the truth in love”–people who “equip each other” to grow in “the fullness of Christ” and “build each other up” for “works of service”–then make it a priority to find some. You will benefit, and so will others. That’s a promise. Not from me, but from God!

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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