11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
In the light of God gifting us individually, Paul here lays out a few examples. I think this is important for us to realize because too often we wish others were like us. There are some friends of mine that at first, I didn’t really like how they were. I didn’t understand their ways of thinking and acting. However, I know now that God created them differently for His purpose, not mine. Maybe part of that purpose was to shake me up and introduce me to someone completely different.
This is what Paul means in verse 12. Many times the scriptures talk about the body of Christ, the church, believers, and that we all have a specific role. If we were all feet, then that would be a goofy looking body, wouldn’t it? It would also be ineffective at completing tasks…we could get there quickly but then would have to just kick stuff around!
The purpose of all this is for us all to attain to the unity of faith. He also mentions this in Philippians 2:2, “2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” These specific types of people, however, are purposed with strengthening the body of Christ.
I linked a spiritual gifts test to yesterday’s post. I think they are quite interesting in that once someone finds out what their spiritual gifts are, they get an “oh yeah!” moment. It just makes sense based on how you are. It’s always intriguing to find these things out about ourselves. It’s a good start to embracing how God has designed us.
I believe the end of verse 13 is important. The measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. For me, this is reflective of what we read in James 1:12, “12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” As we go throughout life, we are constantly matured in Christ as we seek Him. Our trips and falls actually teach us how to better deal with things in the future. Our difficulties in life give us reason to grow closer to Him and seek Him out more.
So what do we do with the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers in our lives? God has put them there to develop us and build us up so that our faith may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing? (James 1:4) Do we heed the words of our elders and teachers or do we shrug them off and go about our way? Certainly, there are lessons in life we must all learn the hard way, but God has put people in our lives to teach us in a way that is a bit easier than just falling on our faces all the time.
I’ll admit that I have trouble taking advice, especially when it goes against the grain of how I already think and act. As people, we don’t like change. We push against change and would rather coast, even though we may be coasting in the wrong direction.
Who can you recognize in your life today that God has put there for you to listen to? How can you better contribute to the building of the Body of Christ? Are you working towards maturity in the likeness of Christ?