What do you think when you get the impression from someone that they have it all figured out - that they have all the answers? Some folks are drawn to those people for various reasons, but that kind of certitude can be off-putting. I cringe when I think back on my life and realize how clueless I was to my own brokenness. I was the king of denial and blame shifting. There was always a reasonable excuse for me getting upset or frustrated - and it was never pointed back at my lack of emotional or spiritual maturity. It was something or someone else's fault.
"...to equip his 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 4:12-13
If you are ready to set things straight in your life, you might be encouraged (and maybe surprised) by something I misunderstood in the Bible for years. In my experience, the term "equip" alwasy meant having to get more educated in doctrine, principles and training. But there is much more to it. It's a process that doesn't end this side of heaven. You might be surprised what happens inside you as you start down this path.
It is very easy for those of us in the United States to read the verses above and translate "equip" to be a very academic process. But the focus on the academic in our church culture has produced anemic results. We've traded in the power of God for the wisdom of man. We've seen quiet miracles as a consistent theme at CrossCounsel.
The word “equip” in Ephesians 4:12 is the same word used in Matthew 4 when Jesus first comes upon James and John as they were mending their nets. Fish are not easily caught with torn nets. Yet we try to function in the fullness of Christ without having our hearts and minds mended with His Truth. Let's briefly go a little further with this. There are actually three uses for the word we translate to equipped.
#1 - Equipped is used in the context of mending nets. Fishermen’s nets would become broken and torn from use so in the evening they would repair (literally “equip”) them for the next day’s use. This gives new meaning to what Scripture refers to when it instructs gifted leaders to equip the saints; they can actually help repair and mend the brokenness in the lives of others.
#2 - Equip can be used as a medical term for setting bones. The physician takes a broken bone and sets it back in place so it can heal correctly. So here it has the idea of using the Word of God to heal, to set back in place, to set right.
#3 - Equip can also means to outfit a ship in preparation for sailing. The crew must load all the supplies the ship will need for a long journey. Equipping has to do with “outfitting” the people of God with everything they will need for their spiritual journey of ministry.
If we put the three together, we see the role of gifted individuals who help repair, heal and outfit believers to effectively do the work of ministry.
Bonus material for the Greek Geeks:
Equipping (Strong's 2677) (katartismos from katartizo [word study] = mend, repair, make whole or perfect, of setting bones, mending nets in turn from katá = with + artízo = adjust, fit, finish related to) means to make something or someone (in this case the "sheep" in the flock) completely adequate or sufficient for something.
The basic idea is that of putting a thing into the condition in which it ought to be. In politics it is used for bringing together opposing factions so that government can go on.