“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 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.
As I ponder this passage I sense a little bit of frustration from Paul with the church. But it is because he knows something that we have a tendency to forget. He knows that God instituted the church to be a living, loving, laboring community that would magnificently display the majesty and glory of God. Instead of drawing attention to God he sees the church drawing attention to itself because of what is going on among believers in the church. The church should be growing… 1) in unity as a community of faith and 2) toward maturity in their relationship with Christ. Instead they were acting like children that can’t get along. And from Paul’s perspective this is devastating. He thinks they need to grow up.
Here are a few questions that are worth thinking about that are prompted by this passage?
1) Are you taking advantage of the teaching available to you at church so that you are being equipped to better serve?
2) Are you building other believers up or are you tearing other believers down?
3) It is our FAITH that unity is to be centered on – not on peripheral issues. Are you making a big deal about things that aren’t a big deal?
4) Are you growing to know Jesus better? Are you maturing as a believer or is your growth stunted? If so, why?
5) What is the next step that you need to take to get closer to “attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ“?
For me, Scripture often prompts as many questions as it does answers. Questions that I need to dig deep into my own soul to find the answers to as the Spirit of God applies the Word of God to my life. Part of the key to spiritual growth is being intentional about answering these questions and then being intentional to put them into practice. This, for me, is when pondering becomes not just another religious exercise but an expedition into Truth. It takes time, serious contemplation, a willingness to repent, and profound courage to do this. But if we want to grow we’ve got to be willing to pay the price.
Do you want to grow?
I’m just sayin’!
Next Week’s Passage: Ephesians 4:14-16