Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. Ephesians 4:15
Christians have always affirmed that spiritual growth happens when we spend time alone with God. Through sincere prayer and study of God’s Word, we behold God and he changes us into his image (2 Corinthians 3:15). The more you as a Christian meditate on the gospel, the more the gospel centers you and shapes your life. This is a glorious truth.
But an equally glorious truth is that spiritual growth also happens in community. In fact, the gospel is most visible in the midst of Christian community. That’s why Paul tells us that it’s “speaking the truth in love” that actually grows us into Christ.
When Pastor Brady preached on bold disciple-making, he made the claim that every Christian should be involved in deed ministry and word ministry. Deed ministry is serving Christ (by serving the church and the world) with our time, talents, and treasure. Word ministry is serving Christ with our words.
Christian, what opportunities do you make to speak God’s truth into the lives of other Christians? That could look like a discussion with your roommates about your dreams and desires in life. That could look like a conversation with your spouse about an area of struggle in your marriage. That could look like a dialogue with a child about the meaning of a Bible verse. That could look like a conversation with a coworker about how your faith shapes your life. Speaking the truth in love can look a million different ways.
The point is that unless we actually speak God’s truth from a heart of love, we will not grow. That’s a bold claim. Paul is not messing around here. Every time we talk to each other is another opportunity help us grow into Christ.
Wouldn’t this perspective change how we view each other and our interactions together? Shouldn’t this verse give greater weightiness to how indispensable the body of Christ is for your spiritual growth?
Of course this won’t always feel pleasant. In fact, speaking the truth in love is one of the hardest things to do. That’s why many Christians simply don’t do it. Let’s stop being children. Let’s grow up. The more we understand the gospel truth that we are accepted and approved by our heavenly Father, the more we will be free to allow our hearts to be sharpened by each other without resentment.
Let’s speak the truth in love to each other. Our spiritual growth depends on it.