One of my favorite prayers in the Bible came from the heart of our Savior. In John chapter 17, Jesus prayed for His disciples and for all those who would believe on Him through their Word. He prayed that we would be one, even as He and the Father are one. He also asked God to glorify us, and prayed that the love God has for Him be found in us, as well. Jesus was already starting His post-resurrection ministry of interceding for the people of God; He was praying that God would make us the glorious church without spot or wrinkle that Paul talked about in Ephesians.
Ö even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25 (b) - 5:27)
Before the point of salvation, we are unable to love the way God loves. When we are born again, God renews our spirits and deposits His love in us. From that point on, it is our job to reprogram our minds with the Word of God. When we meditate, study, and apply His Word, we move from glory to glory, becoming more and more the people God created us to be.
As we renew our minds, one of the most prominent changes in our lives is our ability to love and to understand Godís love. The more we grow up as believers, the more we learn to love as He loves. Our ability to love like Him, directly affects our ability to be one, as He and the Father are one. The closer our hearts line up with His heart, the closer we move toward becoming that glorious church, lacking spots and wrinkles.
Think about this. What is a wrinkle? What is a spot? According to Strongís Concordance, a wrinkle is a fold or a drawing together, and a spot is a stain or soil. Spiritually speaking, how does this pertain to the body of Christ and to us as individual Christians? Well, let us take our individual lives first. The basic problem with wrinkles is that they interrupt smoothness. God created each of us for a specific purpose. We are all special to Him, and He has amazing plans for our lives. Wrinkles are the things that interrupt a smooth progression of His plans for our lives. Wrong attitudes, bad decisions, and fears are examples of wrinkles. Stains can be things like hurts, grievances, and offences that leave behind emotional marks on our hearts. As our ability to trust in Godís love for us increases and as our hearts become more entwined with His heart, His love smoothes away these hindrances.
Concerning the body of Christ as a whole, we should look a little earlier in Paulís epistle to the church at Ephesus:
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Eph. 4:15-16)
Here Paul gives us a clear depiction of Godís design for the Body of Christ. Christ is our head, and we are joined together and compacted by what each joint provides. This means that when we are walking in Godís plan for our lives, when we have found our joint, we strengthen the rest of the body! God wants us to function as one. He does not want us to do the same things; indeed, He has a unique path for each of us. However, He does want us to understand that we all working toward the same goals. We are all laboring together, in Christ, for the advancement of His kingdom. We, as Jesusí body in the Earth, are all working toward seeking and saving that which was lost.
Jesus already bought back all that was lost, but it is our job to lay claim to every redeemed thing. (We must remember that Jesus paid for everything that was lost. Every person, every world system, every resource, every territory, every blessing that was lost in the fall, Jesus reclaimed them all in the resurrection.)
Wrinkles occur in the body of Christ with things like division and strife, and compromise (conforming to the worldís way of doing things) and traditionalism (insisting on the traditions of men) can leave nasty stains.
Godís love is more than strong enough to remove all wrinkles and spots, in our lives as individuals and in the body of Christ as a whole. All we have to do is continue in His Word and in fellowship with Him. As we do this, the love of God will fill our hearts more and more. I thank God for His wrinkle smoothing, spot removing love, and I pray that this article has inspired every reader to strive for learning to love as He loves. I know it has done that for me!