Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-16
Observation: Paul addresses what it means to live like Christ – and it begins with unity, realizing there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father. He continues by addressing the importance of using our spiritual gifts and speaking the truth to each other out of love.
Application: If I learned one thing in the past year, it’s the importance of real, true honesty.
The second thing I learned is that most of us (myself included) don’t really understand true honesty.
Raise your (virtual) hand if you’d say you’re an honest person. I’m guessing your hand is raised, and my hand is raised, too! But along the way, I’ve started to realize I’m really not as honest as I think I am. Chances are you’re not either.
Many of us have some vague definition of honesty that focuses on being truthful and simply not lying.
But the truth is real honesty is more than just not lying – it’s about facing the whole truth, all the time and in every situation, even when the truth is messy, challenging, and complicated at best. Real honesty is coming face-to-face with our fears, seeing reality for what it is, not what we wish it would be. Real honesty is never focused on saving face. Real honesty is selfless and pure. Real honesty is freeing. Real honesty brings us closer to Christ.
Paul puts it like this in verse 15:
“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.”
“Speak the truth in love” isn’t an invitation to spew out the bitterness and resentment and hidden judgment we’ve stored up against someone. Speak the truth in love is an invitation to bring someone closer to Christ.
And before we speak the truth in love to someone else, we often need to speak the truth in love to ourselves.
What truth do you need to speak into your own life today? What sin are you hiding? What selfish motive is driving you? Who are you turning to for affirmation instead of turning to God? What situation needs your attention, even though it’s difficult? What part of your life is motivated by greed? What have you fooled yourself into believing that simply isn’t true? What relationship needs extra attention and restoration? What is God calling you to do that you’ve been avoiding out of fear?
Speak the truth in love to yourself today. Lean in. Invite the Holy Spirit into your heart to reveal the things you don’t yet understand or even see in yourself. Be honest – truly, harshly, gut-wretchingly honest.
And then remember that there’s nothing our God can’t do. There’s nothing he can’t patch, fix, destroy, mend, or restore. The truth matters.
“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, ‘You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” (John 8:31-32)
And the truth will set you free.
Prayer: God, I pray you’ll reveal truth in my life today. Help me be honest with myself, see all parts of my life as you see them, not as I want to see them. I pray you’ll help me face difficult parts of my story so that I can grow closer to you. Amen.