speaking the truth in love

“speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 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.” Ephesians 4:15-16 (ESV)

Flowing on from the past few verses we see Christ is the head of the “body”: the church.

He is the perfect example upon whom we are to model our behaviour.

How? By speaking the truth in love. That is, by sharing the gospel.

Why? Because, like Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel” (Romans 1:16).

And by being open and honest and willing to suffer for my faith I will be “building the body up in love”.

But we all need to do our bit as “each part” needs to “work properly”.

Thankfully we have Gods grace and the support and encouragement of fellow believers.

Kim+

prayer : that I will faithfully speak the truth in love

action : continue to update this blog at least 3x per week

so that we may no longer be children

“until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” Ephesians 4:13-14 (ESV)

I have children. And I’ve watched them grow from tiny, helpless babes, through infancy as they discover the world, into teenagers.

They “mature” as their knowledge and understanding grows. Taking on more responsibility. Whether at school, getting a job, or at church.

It’s a progression.

From milk, to solids, to more unusual and sophisticated foods and flavours.

It takes time. It can’t be rushed. But eventually it happens. And it needs to happen.

Sadly, with this growth comes a better understanding of how the world and human nature operates.

Sure, there are often great acts of courage and generosity displayed by many.

Yet more common is the desire to have more and more and more. And this comes at the cost to others.

Corruption is rife. Greed is prevalent. Governments often spend more time debasing their opposition than actually performing their elected role.

Marketers bend and manipulate the truth to get their share of your wallet. Probably selling a product or service you don’t even need anyway.

Yet it’s nothing new. Deceitfulness has been around since Adam and Eve.

What we need to do is recognise it and guard against it. Praying that we remain firm. Trusting in an almighty God who thankfully does not change.

Kim+

prayer : that I would remain faithful in a world hell-bent on swaying my opinion

action : listen to at least one John Piper sermon every week

equip the saints

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,” Ephesians 4:11-12 (ESV)

So let me see if I have this right.

God provides the church – the “body” of believers – with “apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers” to equip us, “the saints”, so we can “minister”.

What a great model!

I love this picture of us all working together to “build up the body”.

Each member an integral part of the whole. Doing his or her thing in such a way as to create something better.

It’s easy to think of “saints” as people who are somehow extra special; holier than thou; perfect; sinless.

But as believers we’re all “saints”.

Yes, we’re still sinners. However, we’ve been forgiven. Thanks to the grace of God.

And what we’re doing now is our small bit no matter how insignificant it may seem. Yet it’s still vitally important.

Kim+

prayer : thank God that I can serve Him and His body

action : continue to discuss with my pastor how I can best use my gifts through ministry

He gave gifts to men

‘But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”‘ Ephesians 4:7-8 (ESV)

God in His infinite wisdom and abundant generosity has bestowed gifts upon His children.

He has done this by “grace”.

As with so much God has given us we do not deserve it.

And in gratitude for what He has done we should use our gifts wisely: to bring glory to God; to further His kingdom.

Knowing what our gifts are involves insight.

But using them well involves wisdom.

Kim+

prayer : that I will use my gifts to glorify God

action : discuss with my pastor how I can best use my gifts through ministry

one

“There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-6 (ESV)

There is so much packed into these three verses that’s it’s hard to do them justice in a short daily quiet time.

Clearly the overriding message is unity – the one Paul speaks of – which he specifically mentioned in the preceding verse.

I find it a reassuring passage. A message that makes me feel included.

One that gives me nice, warm fuzzies. Like I’m wrapped up in the comforting embrace of “God the Father”: protecting me, comforting me, loving me.

Perhaps this is not the purpose of the passage.

The one “body” spoken of is no doubt the church: the company of fellow believers; our brothers and sisters in Christ.

And like a body, each of us fulfills different roles. This is something Paul deals with in greater detail towards the end of the chapter.

For now I’ll bask in the knowledge that I am in Him and He is in me.

Kim+

prayer : that I will act as if I am one with Him

action : seek to be more Christ-like each and every day

worthy of the calling

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Ephesians 4:1-16 (ESV)

Paul is certainly making a big deal of this by emphatically “urging” the reader.

I find it interesting that Paul refers to “walking”, as if it’s a journey rather than a destination.

He expects the Ephesians, and by implication us, to live up to a certain standard. It’s no small thing to be called yet with it comes a clear responsibility to take it seriously.

He makes it easy to know what’s expected of us by outlining several examples of Godly living: “humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, love, and unity”. A list that is comprehensive but by no means exhaustive.

In essence, a way of dealing with fellow believers that builds up the body of Christ the Son and gives all the glory to God the Father.

Kim+

prayer : that I would glorify God through my actions

action : be humble, gentle, patient, forbearing, and loving towards, as well as united with, fellow believers