But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Ephesians 4:15-16 (NASB)
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
Let's begin today considering the word "into." When someone is "into" something, it means that they have a very strong connection with that thing and have devoted themselves to it. This devotion will consume their time, energy, and affection. If it does not, then they are really not "into" it. Perhaps, it would be reasonable to say, if there is not a considerable consumption of our time, energy, and affection in our relationship with Christ, we are not really "into" him. Notice the use of the word "into" in today's Scripture: "we are to grow up in all aspects "into" Him who is the head, even Christ."
It is not exactly the use of "into" we have been talking about, but with a minor play on words we come out with something like this: Unless we are "into" Christ, we cannot expect "to grow up in all aspects 'into' Him." Here we are facing the issue of "priorities" again. Yesterday's passage said this: "we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end." Partaking (tomorrow, we will take a closer look at what "partaking" means) of Christ is the key to our growing up in all aspects "into" him. Notice the time frame: from the "beginning" when we first put our faith in Christ until the very "end" when we are done with our lives here on earth.
So the one who is truly "into" Christ is the one who has made him the top priority in their life. The one who has this kind of devotion to Christ will allow their time, energy, and affection to be consumed in "partaking of Christ" and "growing up in all aspects into him."Today's Scripture wonderfully connects the "priority" of Christ with "partners" in Christ. Partnering with other believers who provide a "support system" for us is vital. Our passage, however, takes it way beyond the idea of a "support system" when it spells out the connection God has in mind for us as "partners" in Christ.
When Christ is our top priority and we are seeking to partake of him and grow up "into" him, it is a very personal and spiritual experience. However, it is not an entirely private matter. There is also a kind of "partaking" and "growing up" into Christ that we do in conjunction with others. Notice that our passage speaks of Christ as "the head." Christ is our "head" individually and collectively. Together, we are the body of Christ and it is his presence and work in our "midst" that makes all the difference for his body.
Notice in our passage the two words that link Christ with his body: "from whom." Everything that follows these two words in the passage comes from Christ: "from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love." The body of Christ as described here (we will look more closely at this next week) is a Divine arrangement that is deeply spiritual and is so much more than mere collective organizational ministry.
Every one of us needs a circle of fellow believers who share the priority we have of "partaking of Christ" and "growing up in all aspects into him." Together as partners in Christ, when you welcome him together into your "midst" to provide to you, his body, all the passage says can come from him, Christ and his provision will come to your circle of support. This is the truth spoken in love and it is God's game plan for his church here on earth. What a glorious priviledge and blessing it is to be a part of it.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I am so thankful to be on your team and to be a part of your game plan. Continue to help me be "into" you fully and completely. Teach me more of what the "body of Christ" is all about and oversee my partnering relationships with others so that they become all they can be. I bow before you in worship and I praise you for all that you are doing in my life today. Amen!
Posted on Sat, January 16, 2016
by Alan Porter