Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "A Shelter In The Time Of Storm"1 (Lyrics)
Ephesians 4:15 – Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. (NIV)
There's something heavy that has been weighing on my heart for several years. It sometimes causes me to wake up in the middle of the night and sadly reflect on how some people that I dearly love are being misled by what is untrue, unjust, and even unchristian. I see them being drawn into a web of lies by charismatic personalities who only want to sway them in order to create chaos and make money from the confusion. As a pastor, I consider myself a shepherd of God's people, and I want to bring them back into the fold of faith and common sense, away from this influence. But I can't seem to find the right words of caution or the genuine reasons that will convince them to let go of the falsehoods that are actually harming them.
The apostle Paul also went through similar times, especially when corrupt leaders in the early church tried to move people away from Christ and toward themselves. Paul was gravely concerned about how this would affect the faith of the young congregations that he had helped to plant, so he decided to speak the truth lovingly, in order to guide the new Christians in Ephesus — and elsewhere — to recognize what was wrong and get them back on the right path to faith, hope, and love. It wasn't an easy thing to do — confronting foolishness and falsehoods often led to conflict for Paul. But he felt compelled to speak the truth in love, so that all who would listen and respond could reflect on their choices and recognize that they had been totally manipulated by the wrong ideas, bad leaders, and false theories.
So, for the people whom I love so dearly, I need to speak the truth in love because this is what Christ compels me to do, for the sake of their souls and the well-being of their lives. Perhaps you, too, have friends who need to be guided back to the right path.
I leave you with this beautiful verse from Paul which encourages all the followers of Jesus to be Christlike by producing and practicing the fruits of the Spirit as we guide others to the truth of Christ's teachings:
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You always speak truly and lovingly. Forgive us for our foolish notions and for clinging to false words and ways. Help us to seek the truth and to find our faith again. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.