Devotional by Major Johanna Pook
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 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. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. 17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. Ephesians 4:11-17
When I think of the word equipped so many insecurities flood my mind and I’m certain some of you can relate. I’m not sure I can always confidently say I feel equipped for anything, really. It is at times of insecurities I can lean on God’s Word to remind me of what God has promised and can do in my life. The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word equipped the following way: to provide (someone) with necessary materials or supplies; to provide (something) with a particular feature or ability; to prepare (someone) for a particular activity or problem.
This week we made sure to take our children to the store to purchase all the supplies they need for the upcoming school year. The goal of getting these supplies is not only to honor the school’s wish list of classroom supplies, but it is to also ensure that our children will be ready and equipped with all the tools necessary to have a successful year as they fulfill their responsibilities as students.
As Christians, when we think of being equipped people, it is not necessarily about going to the store and purchasing supplies. God’s Word reminds us that we can find confidence, that through Jesus Christ, we have been equipped to do His work. This knowledge provides great comfort to you and me. With everything that God requires of us and commands us to do, if we were to rely mainly on our own abilities or searching for supplies somewhere else, we will certainly fall short.
As I read over my children’s school supply list, I’m always amazed of all the extensive items listed. From pencils, note books, binders, dictionaries, erasers, sneakers, to even headphones and computer flash drives. I always wonder, are all of these items truly necessary? The answer is, yes. Each of the supplies on the list has different functions that will help in a variety of ways during the school year. Everything together will help my children be fully equipped and function better for school.
In Ephesians chapter 4 Paul starts off by describing the diversity of gifts in the church and in verses 11-17 he reminds us how God has equipped His people, specifically for ministry and for building the body of Christ. When we remember that Christ is the head of the Church and He has called each of us in a special and diverse way, we have no reason to doubt that He equips his people for each task. All of this so we can be rooted and confident in this world, no matter what comes our way and who tries to shake us. The truth is, Christ equips people in the church for the primary mission of ministering the Word of God in everything we do. Other than a bible, we are not going to find supplies for that at a store. All we need to do is to turn to Christ, surrender ourselves, and allow God’s Holy Spirit to equip us day after day by being in His Word.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 English Standard Version (ESV) reminds us of this promise:
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
The beauty of this is that we too can be instruments of God in helping the process of equipping others as well so they too can do the work of ministry and be rooted as they live out their faith in this world.
When we think of how God equips each of his people, the beauty of coming together, working together, and being united in Christ, helps us be assured that we can be fully equipped people for His service. I thank God for His Word which brings such great instructions and assurance. I thank God for the Christian leaders He has provided in our lives who provide great mentoring and examples. I thank God for His Holy Spirit who continues to transform and equip us for His service.
Be confident! God indeed equips His people and you too are equipped!
Define equipped I your own words.
What do you feel like is missing from your ‘tool box’?
How can you help equip someone else in this season?