Paul writes the formula for growing to be like Jesus. You’ve probably heard it, but it’s possible that this instruction hasn’t sunk in. This formula addresses one of the biggest challenges in today’s church. It addresses one of the hardest thing’s believers are all called to do, and too often, avoid doing. Here is the verse:

“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.” Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)

The formula is clear: speaking the truth in love = growing to be like Jesus. This seems simple and yet many believers make one or both of the following mistakes when it comes to dealing with conflict (a natural byproduct of dealing with people). One of the mistakes is avoiding the truth (not speaking it) and the other is speaking the truth without love. The first word of verse fifteen is “Instead,” so its important to know that the previous verse is about being a baby, being spiritually immature and therefore easily deceived. Instead of being a baby Christian, “we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ.”

So, two questions to consider, and these shed light on one’s maturity as a Christ follower:

  1. Are you avoiding saying something to someone in your life?
  2. Are you saying things without love?

If the answer to either is yes, then you are missing out on growing to be more like Jesus. Avoiding truth because the

conversation might be difficult means avoiding loving that person, too. Saying truth without love doesn’t help the hearer or the speaker to grow. In fact, it tears down relationships.

A key to growing to be more like Jesus is speaking the truth to the people around you and doing it in a loving way, which means with their concern and best interest at heart.

Today, don’t just pray about being able to speak the truth to people around you in love; practice it! We get better at the things we practice and getting better at speaking the truth in love is what Christ’s body does to become more like him. What is one hard conversation you sense Jesus asking you to have? Is there someone who has spoken truth to you that you could thank?

John Riley
Junior High Pastor

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