“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.” Ephesians 4:11 (NKJV)
All of us want to be connected to something with a plan. If you’re on a team, you want to know the coach has a strategy for winning. If you’re employed by a company, you want to know the CEO has a set of goals put in place to ensure the company’s stability. And if you’re part of a family, you want to know that the hopes and dreams for the future are actively being prepared for.
Plans are healthy and helpful. They eliminate a lot of worry and woe. Even if a plan does not turn out exactly as expected, it breeds confidence and assurance to know that thought and intelligence was invested into something for your benefit.
Did you know that God has a plan for His people? Paul points us to it here in the Book of Ephesians by reminding us that God appointed apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to serve the body of Christ. Why has God done this? It’s all part of His master plan for us: “For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, that we . . . speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-15 NKJV).
God’s plan for His people is that they change, grow, develop, and mature. When you hear the word “mature,” you may simply associate it with “oldness” or something lacking in vitality. That’s not the idea, and that’s not the plan. Paul defines maturity as “the fullness of Christ.”
It’s God’s will that we grow to be more and more like Jesus. And notice how Paul uses the analogy of Christ as the head and the rest of us as His body. When a healthy body grows, all its individual members mature together. The point Paul is making for us is that when we grow according to God’s plan, we do so together as a spiritual body, just as a natural body does. In other words, we mature as a community . . . that’s God’s plan for us!
Unless we’re connected in spiritual community, our spiritual growth will always be stunted in some way. Because according to God’s plan, maturity requires mutuality.
PAUSE: What is God’s plan for His people? How is this plan to be executed?
PRACTICE: Describe your own connection to other members of the body of Christ and how your own spiritual growth is affected.
PRAY: Father, I pray for the universal Church today. Bring us as individuals into maturity, Father, as we operate in the gifts and calling You have given us. And as we grow in maturity, bring us into deeper unity and love in order that we may experience the fullness of Your purposes and plans. Amen.