And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
How will I ever summarize what this passage teaches me? It is so rich and it ties right in to Hebrews and pressing on to maturity.
I have had an interesting week since we met on Thursday. God, lovingly through His Holy Spirit, convicted me of something this week and would not let me rest until I repented of these sins before Him. He very gently laid out for me how I was to handle this repentance because others had witnessed it and I needed to repent before them as well. I was obedient but let me tell you I tried really hard to get out of it by using every justification I could think of. The enemy even had a few comments like, “I bet they didn’t notice,” “it wasn’t against them, therefore you don’t need to confess to them,” “it’s just false guilt.”
That’s the line that got me to see the truth! It was not false guilt, it was the power of the Holy Spirit at work in me, convicting me. So, I did what I had to do and I felt a tremendous relief.
Why am I telling you all this? I assure you that my intent is not to brag on myself. Too many times I have swept my various sins under the rug of triviality. Here are my reasons for telling you:
1 – I was reminded this week that sin is sin and Jesus paid the price for my sins, even the ones I deem as trivial.
2 – God expects me to set an example as a light in a dark world. Yet, I was having trouble being a light among other lights! How in the world can I be a light in darkness if my light is clouded over?
3 – Along the lines of example-setting, there’s also this passage above that talks about the gifting of the Spirit among the Body. My gift is meant to be useful in the equipping of the body, in building it up in Christ to maturity. How can I do that for Him if I’m stooped over in immaturity being unrepentant? I want to be the full stature of what God intends for me to be. I want that knowledge of God that is not in my head and coming out of my mouth reminding us of how to live, but living it out. I don’t want my motto to be, “don’t do as I do, but do as I say!” Do you realize how wrong that is? It ought to be as Paul could write confidently, “imitate my example.”
4 – When I am obedient, I quit spinning around wondering what to do, wringing my hands, worrying if somebody’s mad or if feelings are hurt. Does that remind you of being tossed about? It does me. It is so easy to buy into the world’s way of handling sin. First, don’t acknowledge it. Second, it was the other’s fault. Third, look out for number one. Blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I have learned that when you come clean, so to speak, quickly, it saves you from all the above symptoms of unrepentance. Stress goes away. You’ve come clean before God and your neighbor.
5 – My last reason for telling you is that you might struggle with this and need to hear something on this today.
Going back to Hebrews do you remember the exhortation to the recipients to imitate the example of the leaders before them? Do you know how that has smacked me in the head over and over this week? It’s not been brutal, but it has been necessary for me to take note of that so that I will press on to maturity.
I know I will mess up again. I am thankful God was quick to correct me and I trust that He will be again. My prayer is that I will be obedient to hear Him and obey Him. It is so freeing.
I am pressing on toward maturity. Join me.
Soli Deo Gloria! (To God be the glory! )