Grow Up: Speaking the Truth in Love, Part 7Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 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. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
As you may recall, before the holidays we were focusing on the phrase in Ephesians 4:15—"speaking the truth in love." We saw that we—all of God's people—are to do the speaking. The truth we're to speak is, most of all, the good news of God's grace in Jesus Christ and its implications. We speak this truth in love, not only by flavoring our words with kindness, but also by being an active member of the body of Christ.
Today, we transition from the phrase "speaking the truth in love" to the rest of verse 15 and what follows. But, before we move on, I want to consider one final question: Why should we speak the truth in love?
There are many fine answers to this question. For example, we should speak the truth in love because Scripture tells us to do so. Or, we should speak the truth in love because doing so serves the people in our lives. Or, we should speak the truth in love because this enables us to excel in our work and our family life. Or, we should speak the truth in love because our world is in desperate need of truth and will only hear it if it is offered in love.
Ephesians 4:15 answers the "Why speak the truth in love?" question from another perspective. Consistent with what we have already seen in this chapter, the reason for truth-speaking-in-love relates to the church, the body of Christ: "speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ." Truth-speaking-in-love is, in this verse, the primary means by which the church grows to maturity. Such speech enables the church to grow in size, as people hear the good news and put their trust in Christ. Truth-speaking-in-love also enables the church and its people to grow to maturity as we become more Christ-like in thought, word, and deed.
As you reflect upon the implications of the connection between truth-speaking-in-love and the body of Christ, let me encourage you to consider the following questions.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Are you connected to the body of Christ in contexts where you speak the truth in love and where you hear the truth spoken in love? If so, how might you invest more deeply in the actions of mutual truth-speaking? If not, where might you connect to the body of Christ in an intentional, consistent basis? Can you think of times in your life when you spoke the truth in love so as to build up Christ's church? Can you think of times when the truth spoken in love helped you to grow in your faith?
PRAYER: Gracious God, help me to speak the truth in love, so that your body might grow. Help me to hear the truth spoken in love, so that I might be a maturing member of your body.
I pray today for my church, this local representation of your body, that we might speak the truth in love together, so that we might grow up in you. Amen.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge Family Camp, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.