God called us to become part of His family. In response to God's goodness, we ought to balance our calling with our conduct. Ephesians 4 tells us that God wants us to honor Him in our Christian walk and that He will never ask us to do something without first equipping us. God wants us to be holy and He will enable us to become holy through His empowering grace.
God's Provision. God gives grace. This grace is of different kinds. One of which is God's saving grace. Through God's saving grace, we were saved from death - the wages of our sin – so we can be with God in heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Another kind of grace is empowering grace – the desire and the power that God gives us to do His will. As Christians, we are called to “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect” (Titus 2:10). We are to live a life that exhibits the beauty of Christ. But on our own, we cannot say no to sin. We need God's grace (Ephesians 4:7) which empowers us to deny the desires of our flesh and say no to the world (Titus 2:11-12). We cannot live the Christian life without God's provision of grace which enables us to do His will.
Ephesians 4:8-9 tells us that when Jesus came to save us from the captivity of sin, He also gave us gifts. In His amazing grace, God gave us abilities that enable us to serve Him. Romans 12:6 says that “We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us.” We may have the gift of prophecy, teaching, exhortation, generosity, leadership, or mercy, but we can only know what our gifts are when we use them. These gifts are never meant for ourselves but for the service of others.
God's People. We grow and become mature Christians by loving, accepting and encouraging each other. In the Church, we have “prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12). We have different people with different gifts for service.
Our church leaders equip us so we can be servants ourselves. They train us from new believer to mature Christian. We are not merely consumers or customers. If the Church were a restaurant, then we are waiters or diakonos which means to serve, and as we serve, we learn our gifts.
It is important to note, however, that because we have different gifts, we tend to judge others. Some see things that others cannot but the truth is, we need each other. We cannot grow into maturity in isolation for God uses people around us to help us grow. We need help from mature Christians who can tell us what is wrong in our walk. As Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Like iron that must go through fire to be transformed into a fine and valuable balance spring for watches, we too must go through adversity and refinement to become mature.
God's Product. When we go through God's process, we become God's product “a mature man to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).
A mature Christian is one who knows Jesus experientially – as a friend, as the lover of souls, as comforter, as King of Kings. Knowing Jesus intimately affects our character, our way of life, our spiritual maturity. As we mature, we become stable and totally dependent on the grace of God. We will not easily fall in times of trials. We will not easily be swayed by the false teachings because we are grounded in the faith.
As we become mature Christians, we must learn to “speak the truth in love” and “grow up in all aspects into Christ-likeness” (Ephesians 4:15). Speaking the truth seasoned with love means that we have to tell people that someday we will stand before God and be judged. We must show them that we are saved by grace and the evidence is the genuine transformation of our lives.
Focusing on the truth alone gives the impression that Christians are unloving, judgmental, self-righteous and proud. Focusing on love alone on the other hand is devastating to human souls. We should learn how to speak the truth only when we can be loving.
God provides us His empowering grace to transform our lives. To Him, we are a masterpiece so precious that even though we are a sinner, He lets us go through a process of maturity so we can shine like Christ.