Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 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. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. – Ephesians 4:14-16, emphasis added
One common issue our counselees express in Biblical counseling is the feeling of being stuck spiritually. These believers usually read their Bibles at least occasionally outside of Sunday morning and spend time in prayer, but still feel as if they are not growing.
I have been in that place, and so have many of my friends and family members. Often times, the underlying problem is a lack of biblical community. In Ephesians 4, as well as other places in the Bible, Paul stresses the importance of being in community with Christians, but he also tells us what that community should look like.
Here is what biblical community is not: going to church on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights.
While these gatherings during the week are absolutely essential, it will fall short if not accompanied by other Christians speaking into your life on a daily basis. Biblical community is a fellowship of believers who know each other personally and speak the truth in love to one another for the purpose of progressive sanctification. That’s what Paul says in Ephesians 4: “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow. . .”
On Sunday, Shannon did a great job unpacking what it means to speak in love to those around us. He gave a great reminder to check our motives before we speak, lest we mask our pride with a façade of concern. We should be allowing others to speak into our lives as well, not assuming that we are the one person who has the “right” view of ourselves. We speak the truth in love to help each other grow to be more like Christ.
So, then, the question remains: what is the truth?
The truth is sound, biblical doctrine. Scripture is the truth. If we want to be able to speak the truth and discern the truth we hear, we must know the Scriptures. When you are correcting someone, teaching someone, encouraging someone, rebuking someone, or helping someone, you must be able to combine the truth in love, the Scriptures with empathy—and then the body will grow. As Paul Tripp states, “God has called us to intentionally-intrusive, Christ-centered, grace-driven, redemptive relationships and community.”
Let’s be the church by listening well, empathizing, and speaking the truth in love.