And He gave some… for the building up of the Body of the Messiah—until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the recognition of the Son of God; to become a perfect man, and to attain the whole measure of maturity of the fullness of the Messiah, so that we may no longer be little children, tossed and carried about by every wind of the teaching (by the sleight of hand of men, by craftiness, toward the scheme of leading us astray), but speaking the truth in love, we will grow up in all things to Him, who is the head—the Messiah…. (Ephesians 4:11-15, MJLT)
On Israel’s annual calendar, the period immediately following Passover (which spiritually concerns our freedom from sin) and the Feast of Matzah (which is about walking out and practicing that freedom) is the seven-week “counting from the Omer.” During this time, the barley crop is being harvested while the wheat crop continues to ripen, thus carrying with it the spiritual theme of growing to maturity. For the disciple of Messiah, this can be a vital season of watching ourselves and staying in step with God’s plan, as we cooperate with Him and grow into the fullness of who we are as followers of Yeshua.
Sadly, many of us in the Body of Messiah have remained “little children” in the faith because we have believed in “every wind of the teaching” telling us that God has a wonderful plan for our lives—that is, He just wants us to be happy and prosperous, free from all the sadness, curses, hardships and difficulties of life. This is, for sure, an enticing and alluring appeal through which many have been fraudulently brought into the fold “by the sleight of hand of men, by craftiness, toward the scheme of leading us astray”. We have been persuaded to follow Messiah based on the presumption that God promises only a better, more “blessed” life. But is this really the wonderful plan that Scripture depicts for the disciple of Messiah? Does God’s Word truly teach us that we are guaranteed carefree, untroubled lives for which the Father asks nothing in return except to go to church, stack chairs, and tithe? (See John 16:33.)
Consider Yochanan the Immerser’s (John the Baptist’s) “wonderful plan” in Messiah: for all his preparing the way for Yeshua, he was eventually decapitated—his head literally served on a platter.
And what about Paul’s “wonderful plan” in Messiah? When he wasn’t building up and correcting new believers across the continent, he spent the rest of his time running from the authorities and being imprisoned.
And finally, take the Master Himself. His “wonderful plan” included torture, abandonment by his closest friends, humiliation, execution, and death. What kind of a loving Father allows such things to happen to his precious children?
The life in Messiah is indeed wonderful and blessed, but not because God promises good, abundant blessings for every believer in all situations (see Acts 14:22). On the contrary, it is wonderful because we get to enslave ourselves to a Master who loves us so much that He died and conquered death to set us free from our sins, and we now have the honor and obligation of spending the rest of our days devoted to serving Him—whether by our life, or by our death. Should He choose to bless us with health, wealth and happiness, He deserves all the praise; but if, in Messiah and in righteousness, our lives continue in difficulity and hardship, our God still deserves all the praise, and we eagerly await the day of our reward.
“To attain the whole measure of maturity of the fullness of the Messiah” is to accept the responsibility of being a Messiah-follower—that is, to follow Yeshua wherever He goes, and to be just like Him in all our ways. The Master’s “blessed life” was one of unselfishness, self-sacrifice, self-endangerment for the sake of the Good News, righteousness in the face of unrighteousness, challenging deep-rooted religious tradition and shallow belief, obeying God even when it didn’t make Him feel good, and relentlessly making disciples for the sake of future generations.
Now is the time to mature in God and leave our immature faith behind. Adonai is waiting for us to “grow up in all things to Him, who is the head—the Messiah.”
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