"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers...until we all attain to the unity of the faith...so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes."--Eph. 4:11-14 In general, children are held up as positive examples in the New Testament. But not in this case. Children, with their propensity to believe everything they hear, can often be led astray. It is one thing to be child-like. It is another to be immature.
Unless we grow in our faith, we will be easily taken in by all that we hear around us, even if it "sounds Christian." The church, with its many members, are all to work towards a unity of faith rooted in one God, who is over all and through all and in all (4:6). If we are at variance with one another in the important issues of faith, no wonder we will get carried away by every wind of doctrine or taken in as prey.
Some issues are not as crucial to the faith as others. But in the key doctrines surrounding the Gospel, redemption, and salvation, may we be one, so that we may no longer be children. Instead, may we each do our part to build up the body, so that we may build it up in love (4:15, 16).
- Is there someone with whom you have trouble within the body? How does your relationship affect the body as a whole? Is it stunting its growth?
- In what areas have you been deceived? How have you been carried away or tossed to and fro? What doctrines have become divisive?
- How can the body work together to prevent ourselves from being taken in?