“Unity with other Christians is an essential aspect to maturity in Christ.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 27, 2022
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Ephesians 4:11-14, ESV
Unity with other Christians is an essential aspect to maturity in Christ. And yet, in our individualistic modern world, it seems to be one of the easiest parts of discipleship to ignore or neglect. Faith is so often an entirely privatized affair, one in which we relate to God through prayer or study, but rarely interact with his children! Instead, we keep them at arm’s length, safely distanced on a screen or in a crowd. We know Jesus to be indispensable, but the family of faith? The verdict seems to still be out.
In Ephesians 4, St. Paul paints a vivid picture of the journey of faith, one characterized by waves and storms that toss us to and fro. Though we may have seasons in which we make our homes in a peaceful valley, the faithful disciple of Christ should expect, and even anticipate, extended seasons of struggle as we contend with the sinful passions that threaten to steal our joy and distract us from the way that leads to life. Contending for the faith is a daily struggle, and one that is made possible by the strengthening power of the Spirit and the comfort and support of brothers and sisters who join us along the way.
As Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress so powerfully reminds us, Christians on a journey are in desperate need of faithful guides. It is when we make the trek alone that we are prone to despondency and doubt, second guessing ourselves and opening our hearts and lives to those who seek to deceive and derail our faith. Yet when we surround ourselves with “evangelists, shepherds, and teachers,” as Paul says in verse 11, we set ourselves upon the course to maturity and wisdom.
Who are your companions along the way? Are you seeking wisdom in isolation, or do you have a family of believers to whom you belong and who know you well enough to lovingly correct and redirect if necessary? Additionally, have you submitted your life of faith to the wisdom and guidance of faithful elders who are themselves submitted to the timeless teaching of Scripture and the great witness of the Church throughout the ages?
Broken and sinful as we certainly are, let us never forget how deeply we need one another, and remember today that our strength for the storm-tossed journey is found as we follow the Lord’s leading together as his people.
Father, keep us tethered to one another, so that we may as one family remain connected to you as our true source of life, peace, and hope, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
In what ways are you guilty of an isolated journey of faith? How can you take a step towards the family of God today?
Micah Massey: Let Us Be Known By Our Love
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