Ephesians 4:11-16 - And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Probably any longtime churchgoer can tell you that life on the inside of a church isn't always smooth sailing. What might appear stable or even-keeled from the outside can, at times, be listing within. This doesn't nullify the value of congregational life or discredit Christianity, but it does point to an inescapable conclusion: churches are made up of people, and with people come many problems: the biggest one being sin (see James 4:1).
This, of course, is no surprise to Christians—nor does it catch God off guard. Neither does it thwart His global mission of proclaiming the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to every people and every nation (see Matthew 28:19-20). This is why, as Paul writes above, God gave to the earliest groups of believers: apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers.
God knew there would be challenges to the body of Christ throughout the world, and He let His closest disciples know it, too. Jesus said, "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). For sure, hell will not prevail, but it can certainly rock the boat in the lives of believers, here and now.
In turbulent times, we know that God is strengthening us in the unity of our faith. He seeks our growth and maturity in knowing His Son so that we are no longer "tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine" the enemy throws our way. He will not abandon His people (see Psalm 94:14). He wants us to grow up in every way into Christ, the One who died to save us, the Source of our love.
While the struggles we face as members of the body of Christ are never easy, God is always with us. "For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14). Of us individually, He wants nothing less than for us "to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ."
Take a moment to thank God for this the next time you're in the fellowship of believers at your church.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for all the gifts You give believers to keep them close to Jesus. In His Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. What kind of difficulties are unique to churches?
2. How is your church equipped for the building up of the body of Christ?
3. What's the best way to keep yourself from being tossed to and fro by the enemy's schemes?
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