My boys are getting ready to start another season of baseball. I have coached my oldest son’s team since he was 5 years old. I love coaching because I enjoy seeing the kids improve as baseball players. What I’ve noticed is that as their baseball skills improve, their love for the game of baseball increases as well. There are times as a coach when I push the kids beyond what they think they can accomplish, but it’s for their good and ultimately their enjoyment of the game.
When Paul prays for the church at Ephesus, he has the same thing in mind. He acknowledges the church is full of saints who are living and loving faithfully. In fact, they’ve been so effective that word about them has spread around the region (Ephesians 1:15). That’s impressive; but then Paul had the edacity to pray for more! It’s as though it’s never enough; they haven’t arrived yet; there’s another mountain to climb. He made the same statement in Philippians 3:12-15 when he wrote,
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
The Apostle Paul claims that he hasn’t arrived. There are ways he is still a work in progress. And then he claims that all those who are mature in their faith will embrace the same point of view. Maturity is understanding that there is still growth ahead of us. There is more.
There are only two parts of your body that do not stop growing: your nose and your ears. In fact, while the rest of our body shrinks as we get older, the nose and the ears grow. I think that’s a great picture of the life of a Jesus follower. We’re designed to grow until the day we die. There will always be more of Jesus to experience and embrace. And just like the kids I coach; our growth is designed to increase our joy as we walk with God and serve others.
Knowing that we are secure in Christ provides us with a foundation upon which to stand as we ask Jesus how he wants to grow us. We don’t grow so that he’ll love us; we are invited to grow in the soil of his love. Spend some time and read slowly through Paul’s prayer for more in Ephesians 1:17-19 and pray for your own growth in each of the areas he mentioned.