Truth in Love
15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Speaking the truth in love requires self examination and love for a fellow believer that can only come through intimacy with Christ.
Over the years God has taught me a lot about speaking the truth in love. I am nowhere near an expert, but I’m thankful that the Father has grown me in this fruit from the days I was in high school. I distinctly remember a time when some of my closest, dearest friends were making a lot of bad choices. These weren’t just any friends- these were friends that I looked up to in my spiritual walk, friends I was close with and that I spent a lot of time with. I felt panic come over me.
Every time I felt they were making a choice that was not honoring to God I felt the need to immediately run and tell them. The problem was, I wasn’t speaking the truth in love. I was scared, I was angry, I was judgmental. To say the least, I had no tact. That doesn’t mean I should have not said something about the decisions they were making, but rather that I needed to see that my heart was right in sharing my convictions and feelings with them. However, the way I went about sharing these feelings was more about me and about them acting how I expected them to act, not about them having intimacy with Jesus.
Since then, God has offered me many chances to practice speaking the truth in love. This isn’t always in the case of someone making a wrong choice, but it is often the case. The truth that we are talking about here, is the truth of the Word of God. This is what it means to “grow up in every way, into Christ.” As we grow in our relationship with Christ (which includes knowledge of The Bible and His character, knowledge of our self and our sinful thoughts/desires and allowing Him to change our ways our character to be more like His) we begin to change and see ourselves become more like Him.
The reason we speak the truth in love is to equip the body, not to tear it apart. This is what makes the body work properly. Speaking the truth in love is an encouragement to a fellow believer to align their entire life with Christ, for their own benefit not our own. When we speak the truth in love we do so out of wanting to see our fellow brothers and sisters united with Christ and His mission. To “grow up” in Christ is to crucify self and our way of thinking and let Him change our way of thinking, living, being to be His way.
This semester, Kane and I have been taking a parenting class, because well - two-year-old son. In this parenting class the author and teachers continually talk about us being ambassadors and how when we see our own sin and how God has responded to our sin, we are so much more apt to have grace with our children. It’s the same with other relationships God has given us. When we see our sin and our need for forgiveness, then we experience the life-giving joy God gives us after helping us turn from that sin - we truly see what it means to speak the truth in love. We see how God speaks the truth in love in our own lives. He doesn’t come booming in yelling at us (although, He could), rather, He comes gently - like a potter slowly molding the clay- finding our imperfections, leading us to see them as well and then working them out piece by piece with each turn of the wheel.
This is speaking the truth in love. Humbly coming to each other realizing our own failures and gently helping each other to see an area of our lives that maybe God is trying to work on. It is sharing concerns out of a desire to see a fellow brother or sister have a more intimate relationship with our Father, and nothing else. And as we encourage each other to grow in intimacy, we see the body grow in maturity and in number, because it is God doing the work. It is for God’s glory! When we are walking intimately with him, the joy, love, peace, and all that comes with knowing God can’t help but seep out of us and pour over onto those around us! “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
Questions to Ponder
What is required to “grow up in every way into him?” (Galatians 2:20)
What is the ultimate goal of equipping the saints for the work of ministry?
If every member of the body uses their spiritual gift, in submission to the Holy Spirit and in cooperation with other believers, what would happen?
“In love,” a phrase used three times, (Ephesians 4:2, 15, and 16), is love for one another evidence that the body is growing? (Colossians 3:14-15)
Scripture Memory | May | Ephesians 4:15
“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.”