..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. Rather, 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 4:14-16 ESV)
We all need people who are able to be honest with us and to tell us the truth about a matter, even when that truth might be difficult for us to receive. It is those people in our lives who love us most, who we respect, and who offer godly wisdom who can help to stabilize our faith and help us grow in God. We not only need them in our lives, but we need to be that for others; our spouse, our children, our close friends, etc.
When this life throws you a curve ball that you didn’t see coming, it is best to have already had your anchor firmly set so that the storm doesn’t destroy you. The anchor of spiritual disciplines, the truth of God’s word and promises, knowing who you are and whose you are, and having a network of faithful support around you – being an active part of the body of Christ.
When the church refuses to speak the truth in love for the edification of those who hear, we are not able to grow, our ministries become ineffective, God is not honored or glorified, and the body suffers.
Jesus never covered over anyone’s sins. He gently laid them bare before them, and encouraged them to repent – go and sin no more.
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” (John 8:3-5 ESV) Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:10-11 ESV)
In every way we are to grow up into the likeness of Jesus. We need to be humble, teachable, and repent of our sins. Humble enough even to ask others to call you out if they see you sinning; to help hold you accountable in those areas of your life where God is changing how you think and act. Part of being in the Body of Christ (the church) is finding others who draw you closer to Jesus and will always speak the truth to you with love. We were created to live in community in order for us to serve others and to be served. It is through living together that we learn how to forgive, how to encourage, how to offer love, grace and mercy.
Jesus wants His bride (the church) to be pure, unified, ready, and waiting for Him to return. He wants the church to grow as He causes it to grow. To be joined together, serving and strengthening one another. When we are all filled with God’s Holy Spirit, seeking Him, and taking up our crosses daily to serve Him, it is then that we are working properly and God’s greatest works will be done. Each member of the body is important. Each of you has something that God has created and purposed for you to offer in service within the church. Stop being children who are tossed about by every wind of the world; politics, sports, money markets, jobs, relationships, materialism, entertainment, you name it. When you don’t attend church or only attend without committed serving, the body is missing out on your part. Others will not grow as they ought. Blessing will be lost. Opportunities are gone.
But, as we walk by faith, allowing God to direct our path and being obedient to all that He is purposing for us today, the body is strengthened, God is glorified, and the church will grow.
Speaking the truth in love is always challenging. You must be completely in line with God; self has been removed as motivation and prayer to seek God’s filling has preceded the speaking. Love is the only appropriate motivation for rebuke and God’s word is the only truth to be given. And when we choose to obey God, to speak the truth in love, He is pleased and will bless our efforts. When we are humble enough to accept such truth, He multiplies our faith and causes all things to work for the good of those who are called and who love Him.
Get some godly accountability in your life. Allow others to speak truth to you for your own benefit, and to stabilize your faith. Learn how to do so for others. Be engaged actively in the body of Christ – His bride the church. God wants to bless you. To God be the glory. Be encouraged. Press on.