Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
Back to Blog
“Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:15–16 NIV).
Growth is a natural part of life processes. It is assumed that every living organism will develop in maturity. Just as plants, animals, and humans grow it is also assumed that our spiritual relationships will flourish as we connect with the body under the leadership of our Lord Jesus Christ as the head of the spiritual body.
Jesus, as the head of the body, provides direction and a pattern for our development. In our growth of discipleship it is also assumed that we will take on the characteristics of our head; that we will become more like Jesus in our maturation. All coordination and networking proceeds from Him. As Paul wrote, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:16 NIV). It is “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28 NKJ).
All operations of the body flow from Christ. We are not independent segregated parts who direct our own thoughts and plans, rather we are an integrated network of cooperation to fulfill God’s divine purpose. That’s not to imply there is no contribution of our own efforts. When working together we are connected, supporting one another and growing through the involvement of each part. All parts of the body supply and support the normal maturity of development. It all works as we work together. It’s not just “me and Jesus!” It is me and Jesus and everyone else in the body that God has designed and drawn in.
Paul stated, “You yourselves are taught by God to love one another” (1 Thessalonians 4:9 NKJ). He said, “Through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 NKJ). Peter wrote in agreement, “All of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous” (1 Peter 3:8 NKJ).
It is noteworthy that the body “grows and builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:16 NIV). Love is the natural byproduct of our spiritual relationship with God. John revealed that, “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16 NKJ). In our connection with God, His love is manifest and multiplied. The body of Christ will be identified by our love for one another. John wrote, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35 NKJ).
As followers of Christ we desire truth and have a passion to learn His truth and share it with others. That is a good and well intentioned purpose, however, we are reminded that the key to maturity is, “Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15 NIV). Our attitude should not be, “Well, it’s the truth!” Rather, we should learn the delicate art of tempering our tone as we share the truth of the Gospel. The end result is not to win an argument, but to win another to know Christ and experience His love. We are working together with God!
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJ).