26th August 2012


“…so that the body of Christ may be built up until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ.”
Ephesians 4:12-13 NIV (UK) 

When our son was little, my wife and I bought him a little wagon to haul around his other toys. He sat patiently while I opened the box, pulled out the wagon, popped on the wheels and tongue, and smiled expectantly at him. He smiled back, then crawled straight into the box, started rolling around in it and proceeded to play with the box for the rest of the day. 

Of course, that’s not uncommon for little ones. They often seem more interested in playing with an intriguing box rather than with the toy that came in it. They like to get into boxes, pile them up with other boxes to make a fort, wear them—there seem to be no end of things they can think up to do with a box. 

Well, we can laugh at little children when they do things like that. Truth be told, though, that is what many of us do with one of the most valuable things we own. I am talking about our Bibles. The Bible is God’s word. Between its covers is the good news of how we humans have had our sins forgiven through Jesus Christ and in him were reconciled to God. 

You’d think we’d want to open a present like that and really get to know it. But instead, we often prefer just to play around the edges of the real message. It often seems more fun to use the Bible to concoct faddish diets, to condemn people we don’t like or to develop “end time” conspiracy theories. 

Just as a child might find a box to be more fun than what’s in it, at least until the box falls apart, these distractions can also seem more interesting than the Bible’s real message. But unlike a box that soon falls apart, some of these distractions can become obsessions, and end up diverting us farther and farther away from the gospel’s central message. 

We witnessed a striking example of this recently, when a religious organisation warned their followers that the end of the world was about to happen and the righteous should prepare to be raptured up to heaven at 6 p.m. on May 21. Many people believed it and acted on it, even though the Bible says in Matthew 24:36, “…about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” 

This kind of thing is not a recent development. Two thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul had to warn the Christians in Ephesus not to get side tracked. He advised them to focus on the central truth, growing in understanding of what the Bible really is all about, “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13 NIV).  “Then,” he said, “we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14 NIV). 

Even as adults, most holy Father, so often we continue to act as immature children. You have urged us to come to maturity, and we seek your help finally to grow up into the stature of your son, in whose name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach

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