Ephesians 4:15-16. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Why don’t you grow up!
Usually if someone says this to you, it’s meant to be an insult. But in Ephesians, Paul means it to be the trajectory of our life. Growth into Christ. Into our Head. Into love.
Paul wants us to imagine an adult head on a baby’s body (weird, I know). Christ is the fully formed head of the ever growing infant body (the church) that needs to grow up into Jesus. And the glorious grace of God shines through once again – all this is of Christ. The church’s maturation process cannot and will not be denied. Why? Because Jesus is our Head. And what does a head do for its body? It feeds and nourishes it. Colossians says it this way:
Colossians 2:19. holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
The church is growing with a growth that is from God. Christian, you personally are growing with a growth that is from God. Jesus himself is feeding you, nourishing you, building you up in love. He is your fully formed Head, and we are his body that he is feeding and forming by his truth and love, by his Spirit, by his word, by his grace, and by his gifts – apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, teachers (Eph. 4). He is our life support system that will never be unplugged. He is the vine that will never be cut off from its branches (us). He is the head that will never be removed from its body.
So let me ask you, “Are you feasting on Christ?” As we just said, if you are in Christ then Jesus, our Head, IS feeding us. But, as we’ve also said many times before, your experience of Christ as your Head is dependent not only on his grace, but also on your faith – until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God (Eph. 4:13). So are you feasting on Christ in faith? Are you attaining a knowledge of the Son of God? Are you daily receiving his truth and love? Are you resting fully on his promises? His life? His work? Is he alone your source and your goal? Are you hearing him in scripture? In prayer? In conversations with other believers? Are you fixing your eyes upon Jesus? Is your daily hunger and thirst driving you to the fountain of living water? Are you feasting at the table of God’s great love for you in Christ?
Or are you still fighting the dogs for scraps under the table? Are you still trying to feed yourself? To be your own head? Are you more like a malnourished body that is eating itself alive from the inside out? Slowly chewing up your own personal power supply until you’re so stressed trying to impress others and earn love that you’ve actually just become a self-centered bore?
Have you settled for a faith that trusts Christ for heaven someday but not for the fullness of God today?
Are you growing up INTO Christ?
Into. What an interesting word choice. You see, we can be IN Christ completely, and still we can be growing INTO Christ progressively. We can each have all of Christ, and yet we can each have a different experience of Christ depending upon how much we have grown into him. How much of our lives we have entrusted to his rule and reign. How often we turn our eyes upon him. To what extent we allow him to comfort us by his grace.
How do we know that we are growing deeper and deeper INTO Christ? We know when our life’s focus is taken off of ourselves and put on the building up of the Church – the whole body…builds itself up in love. Growing INTO Christ our Head always means growing more and more in love with his body, the church. Dedicating our life to her service. Speaking the truth and love of Jesus to one another. Playing our part. Feeding the sheep. Seeking the welfare of all.
“To live is Christ” is to be forever in Christ, while day by day growing up into Christ our Head. It is to freely receive his truth and love, and then to build up the body of Christ with that same truth and love until we all attain to the fullness of Christ.
What do you feast on each day? Are you receiving the nourishment of Christ?
You in Christ
How does being in Christ (grace) allow us to grow up into Christ (faith)?
Christ in you
Are you playing your part in the church? Are you building her up in love? How might you start?
Playlist: Grow up into Christ