December 3, 2018 • Life for Leaders
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.
Do you want to grow up?
I distinctly remember the first time I wanted to grow up. My family and I were visiting Disneyland, and we were going to ride on the Matterhorn bobsleds. But, as it turned out, I was too young to go on the ride. Back then, a rider had to be at least three years old, but I was just shy of three. I remember feeling disappointed and yearning for the day when I would grow up enough to ride on the Matterhorn.
Ironically, as I felt this burning desire to grow up, I was only steps away from Peter Pan’s Flight. Disneyland guests of any age were welcome to ride in little boats that flew through scenes based on Disney’s film version of the Peter Pan story. We would be like Peter Pan himself, the boy who sang proudly in Disney’s movie, “I won’t grow up. Not a penny will I pinch. I will never grow a mustache, or a fraction of an inch. ‘Cause growing up is awfuller than all the awful things that ever were. I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! No sir! Not I! Not me! So there!”
When it comes to your faith, are you more like the two-year-old Mark who wanted desperately to grow up? Or are you more like Peter Pan, who embraced his apparently eternal immaturity? When it comes to your life as a Christian, do you want to grow up?
If you’re like me, you are probably quick to answer this last question in the affirmative. Of course you want to grow up in Christ. Yet, I wonder, does this desire guide your life? Are you actively living so as to become a mature disciple of Jesus? And do you understand what Christian maturity really is and how you might actually attain it?
Today, and in the days ahead, we’re going to examine one of the most important biblical passages on Christian growth. Ephesians 4:11-16 paints an absolutely essential and often surprising picture of maturity, one that will both inspire you and challenge you.
For now, I would invite you to read Ephesians 4:11-16 at least a couple of times. Look for ways this passage talks about growing up in Christ. Pay attention to what is emphasized. Take note of what you don’t understand. Begin to pray through this passage by asking God to give you clarity about what it means for you to grow up in Christ.
Something to Think About:
What memories do you have of wanting to grow up when you were a child?
Do you want to grow up in your faith, really? If so, why? If not, why not?
What do you see about growing up in Ephesians 4:11-16?
Something to Do:
With a friend or a small group, talk about your childhood memories of wanting to grow up. What do you learn about yourself from this conversation?
Gracious God, thank you for the opportunity and the challenge to grow up in you. Please teach me what this means. Help me to see how I might participate in the process of growing up as a Christian. Increase my desire to be mature in you. Spur me on by your Spirit to do those things that will help me grow up. Amen.
Explore more at The High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project:
What We Want for Children
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.