Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 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. Ephesians 4:15-16
You’ve probably heard the old proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It suggests that children benefit from a community – that community helps build maturity.
It’s a theme that seems to pop up in these verses in Ephesians. These verses (and many more like them!) suggest that growing UP and growing TOGETHER…go together. Or to put it another way: community helps build maturity.
Let’s take Galatians 5 and the fruit of the Spirit as an example.
Occasionally, in some of my weaker (read: childish) moments, it will cross my mind that living the fruit of the Spirit – you know, love, joy, peace, patience and all that – would be much easier if I were by myself!
Just let me meditate in solitude on these fruits as the noble virtues they are – piece of cake. But drop me in the middle of a family, a neighborhood, a small group, a church, a community…you get the idea.
So much of the life of discipleship is fleshed out in community.
No surprise that “love God” is immediately followed by “love your neighbor.” The two greatest commandments, Jesus says. (Mark 12:30-31).
And so we get passages like this one in Ephesians. Christ is the head, the center, the focus. Again and again, the call goes out: Look at Jesus. And what’s the evidence of this singular focus? The fruit of this pursuit? We treat each other differently. We build each other up.
It came up in our GROW Group last night. We don’t just grow from the experience of God’s providential care in our own lives. We also grow from witnessing His care for others. Maybe we’re agents of that care in someone else’s life. Maybe we’re only spectators to what God is doing in and for someone. Fact is, we need each other. To encourage each other. To sharpen each other. To speak the truth in love to each other.
I made new friends last night. We read a little scripture together. Shared a bit of God’s work in our lives…and I grew up.
Over the next few weeks, we’re growing together as a church in small groups. Why? Lots of reasons. But one of them…it helps us grow up. Community builds maturity.
Let me invite you (it’s not too late!) join a GROW Group. Sign up online (Grow Group) or on the Cross Points app. Make space for Christian community in your life, and watch it build maturity in your walk with Jesus.