Paul writes a prayer for the Ephesians (4:14) and for us. "Then, we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced by people who try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth!" Paul says that these things will happen when (4:13) we "come to such unity in the faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord." Unity? Faith? Knowledge? That is why I believe this is a prayer by Paul seeking God's help to find these holy things!
Hebrews 6:19 says, "We have this hope as an anchor for our souls!" The writer of Hebrews is speaking of God's promises to us, fulfilled and lived-out in the person of Jesus. How do we allow God to make this prayer a reality? For our frayed lifestyle, how do we allow God's word to lead us here?
My take is we must decide whether our lifestyle is led by Jesus or by our world/society. I have three short thoughts here.
1. I hear many who profess to seek unity in our world. Their unity means that we come into agreement with their world-view. I wonder if Paul's "tossed and blown about" relates to the insanity of this ideology? If 60 people gather to worship there are 60 world-views, 60 definitions of right and 60 plans for the day ahead. It would be insane for us to think we could meld all of those into what Paul calls unity. Paul says we find unity in Jesus. In the Church that is one thing we should all hold as our point of connection. If we defer to Jesus, we can let our mishmash of world-views go packing and can get to work on the good things!
2. Hebrews says faith is belief in the sure hope of God's unseen things. I was conversing with a friend sometime back about the chemistry of the human body. It seems that when you add up all of the percentages you are just short of 100%. Maybe the soul has mass, weight, substance. While I don't know the chemistry, I do know that combining all of those chemicals does not produce life. There is an unseen, unmeasurable spark that Genesis calls "the breath (ruach) of God." What if our hope of a better, God-led life is unmeasurable, unseen and very real? What if our distraction can become focus? What if we can catch a glimpse of the unseen plan and path of God? What if Paul is right ... as we come to faith and knowledge of Jesus, faith moves into the realm we can call reality?
3. Paul says knowledge is important if we are to perceive God rightly and maturely. I believe much of our willingness to follow God and walk with Jesus is our ignorance. I said Sunday that I meet church people every day that want to tell me what God says and what Jesus is all about ... and they haven't cracked a Bible in years! Paul understands that when we either don't know what God's word says or simply don't care enough about God's word to be in active study, we are easily victimized by "every wind of new teaching." Thomas Odin, the great theologian, poses that there are no new doctrines ... only recycled ideas that Satan has found effective in leading people astray. If we know God, know Jesus' teaching and know our Bible, we can stand firm when the winds of new teaching try to toss us about! Paul is right.
Hillsong writes, from the song Anchor (and Hebrews 6:19) "we have this hope, as an anchor for my soul, through every storm, I will hold to you." I love this thought, because I have a tendency to become frayed, distracted, disoriented and disconnected from what is most important. Randy