The Winter Olympics are a showcase of some of the greatest athletes in the world. I enjoy watching their performances under great pressure, scrutiny, and the ruling of judges. I appreciate learning about the years of sacrifice, training, discipline, coaching, injuries, adversities, and obstacles they have endured and overcame to get to this point.
Watching Olympic athletes compete caused me to review a favorite piece of Scripture. A man named Paul wrote to some younger followers of Jesus in Ephesus and encouraged them to continue their journey of becoming more like Christ. He reminded them their path demanded personal effort, assistance from others, and dependence on God.
Read Ephesians 4:11-16.
I noted seven phrases in bold that contains key information to help each follower of Jesus (i.e., disciple, or learner by attachment) to become the best they can be. God will settle for nothing less – Paul’s friend John wrote that, “Anyone who claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6). It will require information and formation, in community.
Unity of the Faith – Disciples must have a confessional creed: a common understanding about Scripture and our position and experience as believers in Christ (individually and corporately). The basis of such understanding is derived from Scripture and includes shared life (or inter-dependence) in community.
The Knowledge of the Son of God – Disciples must have a full assurance of salvation, grounded in right doctrine, based on the character of God.
A Mature Person – Disciples must exhibit maturity in their life: a commitment to apply Scripture to every part of life; a commitment to growth accomplished through the Word of God, worship, prayer, committed relationships, and intentional service/witness; a commitment to produce the fruit of the Spirit, and walk in love; a commitment to keep God’s commandments, and a commitment to bear witness to the Lord Jesus.
No Longer Children – Disciples must develop, deepen, and live a Christian world-view. They must also be able to discern false doctrines and truth from error.
Speaking the Truth in Love – Disciples must be able to articulate the truth of Scripture to one another and those outside the Body of Christ in appropriate ways. They must be able to confront error with love and not harm one another.
Every Joint Supplies – Disciples must cultivate mutually supportive relationships, as well as develop and use their own gifts for the building up of the Body of Christ.
The Growth of the Body – Disciples must cooperate with the Head of the Body (Jesus) for personal and corporate growth and maturity.
You and I cannot grow without working at it, receiving assistance from other followers of Jesus, and the coaching of the Holy Spirit. Live communally. Let’s go for it!
Love is a verb,