Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
When we are born, we aren’t right then what we will eventually become. We start off small and helpless. We start off very needy and fragile. But as we grow, we get bigger, stronger, and more capable. In a healthy child, each part grows in proportion. And not only do we grow physically, but we learn and increase our knowledge and understanding. And eventually, we get to a place where we are done growing and have reached adulthood, our full stature, the tallest we’re ever going to be.
The church body is to be like a child becoming an adult, following the growth process that takes place. It starts small and gets bigger. It may be weaker but gets stronger. It may not know a lot at first, but wisdom comes. And the church is to be the body of Christ, so if the church body were a human person, it would grow to look like Jesus did, full-grown and full of perfection. The goal for the church, as well as individual believers, is to achieve Christ’s stature, and it does that through the Spirit-given gifts and the ministry of them.
But unlike a human body that grows simply by the passing of time, the church doesn’t grow without some effort from the body itself. In that way, it’s more like an adult exercising to gain muscle than a child becoming an adult, because it takes some work, maybe some resistance, and the effort of all the parts working in harmony to bring about that desired growth. It takes the truth of God, the Spirit of God, and the people of God working together, exercising their gifts, providing the energy and producing fruit from that.
The goal is full Christlikeness. That is the stature we are to attain. Sometimes we may feel like that little kid looking up feeling we’re never going to be big. But day by day, we can get closer to that full stature. Little by little, we get taller. We all have a part to play in contributing to the body become full-grown and what it is meant to be under the head of Christ. So let us join together. Let us exercise our spiritual gifts. Let us continue to grow to become more like Christ.