But...you rub me wrong...

14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. 
(Ephesians 4:14-16 NLT)

As this passage opens, it is a summation of Paul's comments of being "equipped for every good work" as a result of God having given us those who will teach, exhort, ensure a good foundation for building our lives together, and creating unity within the diversity of those called The Body of Christ or the Church. It is the result of this "building work" that helps us to no longer be immature like children - to have some stability in our walk and in our daily actions. More than ever, we need stability in our lives - not the stability the world preaches such as might be found in investments or careers - but the type of stability that comes in making consistently wise choices and strong, faithful moves in life.

Children have a way of believing almost anything they are told. The other night I went up to mom, gently put my index and middle finger around her nose and pretended to have "taken her nose". She chuckled in glee as she remembered he father having done this so many times to her as a child, recounting her horror at being "without a nose" until he gently put it back in place! Now, her father didn't possess some form of magic, allowing him to remove and replace body parts at will. It was a form of playful make-believe between parent and young child - something mom hasn't forgotten, nor do most of us whose parents did exactly the same thing. 

To go through life with the perspective of a child, just blindly believing anything we are told, is dangerous and presents many a chance for us to get off-course or totally derailed in life. There is more to this thing of "being taught" than first meets the eye. The purpose of us being taught is that we will learn from that which is taught! The outcome is that we will be able to spot the fake, reject it, and walk with determination toward and in the real. To this end, we are placed in relationship with each other, with each one of us having some form of influence over the other in one way or another. We teach each other, learning from each other as we go, and together we come out stronger and hopefully with a solid foundation in life.

Alignment in the right relationship matters - it determines what we learn, and may even determine how quickly we learn whatever it is we most need to learn in life. The relationships we form within the Body of Christ are not by accident - even the hard ones. They are there to shave off the rough edges we each have and to help us stand strong when there is attack against us that we don't see coming. It isn't optional to be related - it is mandatory for us to find and work hard to maintain these solid relationships. I am indeed blessed with some that are deep and solid - others that are newer and growing. These are intentional - prepared for us by the Lord himself. Don't ever underestimate the value of a friend, or the importance of one of those relationships that are more than a little challenging at times! They are your "gateway" to growing up in Christ! Just sayin!


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