“We Are One” Readings
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) from Sunday’s sermon. Use it to reflect upon the ways Christ has been working in your life this week. Makes a great midday reflection, or group discussion guide.
Sometimes someone else says it best. Today’s Devo comes from Eugene Peterson’s As Kingfishers Catch Fire.
Read Ephesians 4:1-16
What does it really mean to become a mature Christian, growing up, in Paul’s words, to the “stature of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13)? Paul’s letter to the Ephesians provides the context to answer that question. A sentence from the pivotal center of the letter gives us our focus: “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (verse 15).
The most significant growing up any person does is to grow as a Christian. All other growing up is preparation for or ancillary to this growing up. Biological, social, mental, and emotional growing are all ultimately absorbed into growing up in Christ. Or not.
The Scriptures frequently refer to growth and growing, almost always containing elements of fascination and delight that we are used to as we watch trees, flowers, and children grow. The concluding word on the growth of John the Baptist is this: “The child grew and became strong in spirit” (Luke 1:80). An almost identical observation is given of Jesus: “The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40).
Paul uses a similar vocabulary in describing the agenda he sets out for Christians in the Ephesian letter, using grow as a metaphor for maturity in Christ. Paul also has a striking phrase to clarify what is involved in growing up: “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). This is the curriculum for the growth we are called to. Be the kind of person who expresses truth in your whole being, using love, not just words, to do it. Assert your integrity. Be yourself as yourself is defined by love.
The one thing it does not mean is to say true things or to make true statements. You don’t grow up or help others grow up by giving them accurate advice or precise information. Your life tells the story, not just your words.
So the commitment we make to grow up into Christ has “speaking the truth in love” as its source and fuel, has consequences that feed into generation after generation. Our growth is of interest not only to God; it is also of interest and full of consequences for our children, our friends, our neighbors.
Questions to Ponder:
Luke’s Gospel says that Jesus “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom…” Why do you suppose that Paul uses similar vocabulary to describe becoming mature in Christ? Peterson writes, “Your life tells the story, not just your words.” What do you suppose he means? How does this relate to the “speaking the truth in love” that the Apostle Paul says is the key to growing up in Christ?