Body Builders

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Ephesians 4:11-16  He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ 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. 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. Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ, 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. 

I have read this passage many times and each time I have read it, for some reason, I have always thought it said that it was the pastor, prophet, evangelist, teacher’s job to build up the body of Christ. Then one day I was reading this again and I noticed that the verse really says that it is Christ’s purpose to equip God’s people to serve and build up the body of Christ. So, as I am reading this, I am reminded that it is Christ who does the filling of our spirit; and it is through the filling of our spirit that we are equipped to build the body of Christ, the church.

As we are working with Christ to build up the church, we are also working o help people develop and mature in their faith. If someone were to ask you, “how are you in your faith with Jesus Christ?”, what would you say? Would you and I be able to show growth from the past to now? How about from last year to this year? How about from yesterday to today? We should always be on a path that will help us grow in our faith and come to know Christ on a more intimate level so our relationship with God becomes more real and more central in our lives.

How can we grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ and move towards maturity in the faith? It starts with Christ, himself. We have to be willing to spend time with him in order for him to fill our spirit. This means incorporating spiritual disciplines, means of grace, in our daily lives. Now, we should not do these because we want something from God. We should start, or continue, spiritual disciplines in order to learn more about God and allow the time to change us.

This is how unity can begin because we are interested in loving God and loving people; all of the other things that seem differentiate us can actually be seen as compliments and also help us remember that each person has a part to play within the body of Jesus Christ. This kind of mindset could help us establish deeper relationships with people. As each person grows stronger in their walk with Christ, the body of Christ actually becomes stronger and healthier. Working out of love builds up the church and each person is empowered to live into the gifts they have been given and to do the part that God desires them to play.

All of this is possible because of Jesus Christ.

#TheGospelChangesUs

Published by

Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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