Parents often want to tell their children, “Grow up!” Some things just take time and patient instruction. The command with the nuance of the present progressive tense is to “be continually becoming complete,” which is a translation of a word meaning to “adjust, fit, mend, finish or arrange in its appropriate condition.”
It is used metaphorically of restoring a person in error (Gal 6:1).
Paul is calling on the church (the verb is plural) to fit or conform to the word of God. Spiritual wholeness comes when the church as a whole, as well as its individual members, commits to learning and living out complete conformity to God’s word and His commands.
Paul ended his letters with a list of commands or exhortations that God’s Spirit directed him to give to the churches, such as Colossians 4:2–-6 (be continuously in prayer, boldly speak the gospel, be wise toward the unsaved, redeem the time, speak graciously with salt in your answers).
1 Thessalonians 5:12–-22 (respect your leaders, be at peace, warn the undisciplined, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient, refuse vengeance, pursue kindness with each other, rejoice always, pray without stopping, be thankful, do not quench the Spirit, do not scoff at prophecies, test everything, and avoid every kind of evil).
It is hard to remember all these things, so we must continually remind ourselves of each one of them. In the Epistles, we are commanded twenty–three times to commit these instructions to memory. Peter wrote, “Always be able to remember these things” (2 Pet 1:15).
The church and its members are to take the commands seriously. This is called integrity. As individuals grow in grace, they are to constantly check their values and priorities, make sure they are thinking biblically, and mend any area that deviates from His commands to restore spiritual wholeness. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that he could help them “complete what [was] lacking in [their] faith” (1 Thes 3:10)—-namely, a more complete obedience.
One author writes, “Powerful evangelism is a by–product of spiritual integrity; it is the natural outflow of a church that is in holy harmony with God’s will.” Ask God to give you the grace today to conform your life to everything you know of His commands. Don’t make Him tell you twice!
“Lord, there are so many things to remember to be mature and full of Your wisdom in my daily life. Teach me to value the results of living by Your principles.”
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