To the church of Galatia, Paul wrote: “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.” Here, Paul hints at something that he elucidates further in his letter to the Ephesians: “Leaders are given for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
The common thread in both passages is Christian maturity and the full functioning of the saints in the church.
Paul goes on in Ephesians 4:14–16 (NIV): “Then 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. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
Many times, the average Christian is relegated to spectator status and never given a chance to walk as Christ walked—in the fullness of his power and equipping. However, the responsibility is on each individual Christian to seek his own calling and gifting, to “study to show himself approved, a workman who needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” and to persevere until he reaches the “promised land” of his inherited ministry. It is up to each and every born again saint to take responsibility for his or her own maturity and growth in the faith.
As Paul wrote to Timothy: “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”
— Brad Heilhecker