We should only have one goal in life which permeates everything we do. A High School student will have many activities and will accomplish many things in their few short years but in it all they have one goal: to graduate. Everything has that purpose, so they meet the requirements and beyond, so they are then able to move on from High School to do other things. Our life here is similar, where we will have many various activities but they all have that same underlying purpose: to perfect us in Jesus. In other words, so we will become mature in Jesus.
Apostle Paul stated in many different ways that this was the role he was called to, to help people grow and mature in Jesus:
We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. (Colossians 1:28)
"Perfect in Christ", mature, obtaining the full measure. This is the role Paul saw the five-fold ministers possessing; the trainers of the Church; those who come along side and help us through the Spirit to see more, understand more and make the right steps to maturity. I appreciate how Paul put it to the Ephesians:
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
Having a pastor to pledge allegiance too or to treat as a demi-god is not the goal. To learn to follow Jesus, to live as he commanded and to become mature is the goal. Pastors and the others are only there to help us understand this goal and to help point us in the right direction, to maturity. It is only in maturity that we are able to attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ, and that must be our desire.
Too many of us are making no progress. We are the same today as the day we met Jesus, maybe a little worse. If a student makes no progress, learns nothing, goofs off, wonders the hallways, never attends class, he will never graduate. He has missed the entire point of High School and too many of us are just like that. We are wasting our life, goofing off, still expecting that by some miracle we will reach our goal. But unlike High School we do not gain maturity by sitting in a classroom. Life is our classroom.
Did you notice what the ministers and servants of the church, the trainers, are suppose to do? "To prepare God's people for works of service". We can't just study the Word, it is meant for living. We can't just sit in our churches, we have to be the Church in the world. We are not meant to be trophies on a shelf but trophies of grace on display in the great adventures of life. The Spirit teaches us "on the job", as we are living, experiencing life. In these experiences he is teaching us the practical application of the Word and is working things out in us so that we can grow and mature.
We should be more mature today than we were yesterday. We should have learned something yesterday. We should be looking forward to learning today. Even in our sins and errors, our blunders and mistakes, Jesus is teaching us. Every time we listen to him and he leads us through as overcomers we learn and grow. Every victory we have, every moment we live are opportunities of growth. As long as we are moving forward, changing, growing, learning, maturing, we are living life as Jesus intended us to live so when the day comes, we will be found to have obtained the full measure of Jesus, and are made perfect in him.