Grow Up: Don’t Be a Baby!Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 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. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Growing up in a family of four children, there were times when my siblings and I would throw selfish fits. Perhaps we had to share our Halloween candy when we didn't want to. Or perhaps somebody borrowed our toys and didn't put them back. Or maybe one of us was ruthlessly teasing another. (As the oldest, I was usually the teaser, not the teasee.) If one of my siblings and I were bawling about some petty injustice, we would often hear a familiar refrain: "Don't be a baby!"
We read something like this in Ephesians 4:14, though the context is different and the language is less confrontational. This verse says, "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming." "Then" ties this verse to what has gone immediately before, the growing up of the body of Christ to unity and maturity. (The connection between verses 13 and 14 is even stronger in the original language, where verse 14 begins with hina, "in order that.")
It is striking, however, that verse 14 does not continue to speak about the growth of the body of Christ as a unit. Rather, the use of the plural, "infants," shifts the focus to the individual members who make up the body. Thus, we see once again that Christian growth is not either individual or corporate. Rather, it is both, and both elements are necessary for the other.
Let's pause for a moment to consider the implications of this truth for our lives. If the church is to be what God intends it to be, then, not only are you and I to be equipped for the ministry of building up the body, but also you and I have a responsibility to grow up as individual members. To be sure, individual growth enriches our own personal lives and glorifies God. But it also contributes essentially to the growth of the body of Christ.
Thus, you and I are no longer to be babies in Christ. We need to grow up. In tomorrow's reflection, we'll look more carefully at how this growth happens. For now, I'd encourage you to consider the following questions.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Are you growing up as an individual Christian? How is this happening? What hampers your growth? What nurtures your growth? Are you more mature in Christ today than you were a year ago? Five years ago?
PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for giving me new birth through Jesus Christ. Thank you for designing me so that I can grow up in you, even as I have grown up physically. Thank you for the clear call of Ephesians 4:14 to not be a baby.
Help me, Lord, to see myself clearly, to acknowledge and rejoice in ways I have grown up in you, and to recognize and confess where I am still immature. Help me to leave my infancy behind so that I might be mature in you, thus contributing to the growth and maturity of your body. Amen.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge Family Camp, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.