Thursday, February 8, 2018
Ephesians 4:14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
These verses are a continuation of Paul’s thought found in the previous verses. Verses 11-16 are actually one long sentence in the Greek. The whole concept provided here is that the church will be knit together in unity by being united with Christ. When we are “in Christ” we are rooted into a firm foundation. Paul, himself, remembers what it was like to be young and to be vulnerable to the teachings of various individuals. There will always be those who use religion for their own personal benefit and therefore will manipulate doctrine for selfish gain. That’s why sometimes we have to be willing to be confronted with the hard facts of the truth of the gospel. The good news of Jesus will not always tickle our ears, but it will be truth spoken in love, and this to allow us to grow up into Christ.
Christ is the head, and as some early theologians remind us, is the one who sends out spirit-filled communication to the whole body. Just as a human body is connected, and messages are sent from the brain over synapses to neurons, so Christ speaks to and connects the entire body of Christ. When a nerve or a synapse receives too much information there is uncontrollable movement that can disrupt life. If there is no nerve stimulation there will be no movement whatsoever. So, in the body of Christ, when we are connected to Christ in the proper way, there is just the right amount of stimulation over the synapses so that everything functions properly. This is true of the physical body, but of the church as well. Only when the church is connected to the head — Christ — can the right amount of Spirit infused energy move to each part of the body and bring about healthy growth, which occurs in love.
This scripture really begs the question as to our connection with Christ. When I think of Spirit-enabled energy jumping the synapses of the church, I imagine something beautiful. But the opposite is true as well. If the church tries to function without being rooted in Christ, then she will have over-active members, and others who don’t function at all. That’s just as crazy as having a leg that continually twitches but gets you nowhere, while having an arm that simply won’t move. But, is it possible that in some ways the church has been trying to live and function in this way? What Paul is telling us is that it takes time and intentionality to get to know Christ, and far too many churches are busy “doing” church, and not taking the time to know the One on whom the church is built.
Over and over again, we are reminded that we must get to know Christ. It is intimacy with Christ on a personal and corporate level that is needed so that there may be unity in holy love, and synchronicity in activity. When a human body is appropriately firing on all synapses the movement is glorious. Yes, it again becomes a movement of the Holy Spirit. Most every church was birthed in a moment, or a movement of the Holy Spirit. In my own tribe we’ve been asking whether we can become a movement again! I believe Paul is saying that it is possible, when we are “in Christ” and the Spirit moves across the synapses and enables a body to move and be connected in healthy ways.
Lord, may I be grounded in you, and connected to others who are doing the same. Amen.