Archive for July 17th, 2016

Ephesians 4: Part I – To Be Mature

Sunday, July 17, 2016Spiritual-Maturity

This letter that Paul writes to the people of Ephesus is one that we visit often, and no wonder. These verses bring us a compact message of Christology from one who knows the risen Christ well. THE MESSAGE translation brings us a fresh look at these familiar words and so today we are invited to compare that translation with another that might be familiar to us. If we only have time to reflect on the titles, they alone bring us a new view of old words: The God of Glory, He Tore Down the Wall, the Secret Plan of God, To Be Mature, the Old Way Has to Go, Wake Up from Your Sleep, Relationships, and A Fight to the Finish. As we conclude our thinking about the life of Christ and how we might connect more firmly to his message, we take a last look at what it means to be mature in Christ.

From Christ, to Paul, to us . . .

Here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

Are these words that call us to our spiritual maturity?

You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.

Are these verses we use as a roadmap for our lives?

But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift.

Is this a thinking that makes sense to us?

No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything.

Is this a philosophy that helps us to gauge our interactions as we grow?

We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.

Is it clear to us that we are not alone – and that we cannot operate on our own?

And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. 

This is so very difficult since we want to please others. We too often choose acceptance from others rather than maturity in Christ; but Paul gives us a clear list of rules we might follow to arrive at our union with the risen Jesus.

Tomorrow, rules for the road.

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