Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ… (Ephesians 4:15, ESV)
We all need truth-tellers in our lives. Accountability. Someone who is willing to tell us the hard things. Here Paul tells us that truth-telling is directly connected to growth. The tense of the word “speaking” implies two things: we will never arrive at a place where we do not need “truth-telling” in our lives. We are a work in progress. The finish line is on the edge of eternity, not at some maturity stage here on earth. Second, truth-telling and growth happen simultaneously. While others speak truth to us and we listen, we grow. It is synchronous, not sequential.
Last Sunday I shared about the Beersheba Project (http://beershebaproject.org), a place in Senegal, Africa unlike any other I’ve seen. The Senegalese believe their land is cursed and therefore won’t yield crops. However their land is barren because animals, mostly cows and goats, roam the land and eat everything. In 2002, a man had a vision to do something about this misconception. He built a large fence around a large parcel of land and waited. Sure enough, the growth came.
I shared that truth-telling works just like that fence: it keeps out the goats that would devour the vegetation in your life and allows your life to grow, to be lush and green, to be vibrant. You will never grow without the truth. But with the truth, sunflowers bloom in the desert. Green grass grows in the once barren soil of your life. Birds sing. Life makes sense.
Today I came across this prayer. You might need to pray it too…like I do.
I need the power of the gospel to grant me greater and quicker freedom when people need to share stuff with me. I want to own, grieve, and repent of my defensiveness, Lord Jesus. Help me welcome feedback from my spouse about my attitude, choices, and excesses. Help me to hear your voice in things my children want to share with me about the past and the present.
May my friendships be an environment in which we love each other enough to do ongoing heart work. Grant us fun, but grant us growth. Don’t let me ignore concerns and corrections, from mentors, “underlings,” neighbors, even “angels” you send to me.
I want the Bible to read me (and not just me read it), exposing my sin and brokenness, and revealing more and more and more of the riches of the gospel. There’s no way I’ll make “my home among the wise” without having my heart at home in your mercy, grace, and peace.
Lord Jesus, it’s because you made yourself of no reputation, becoming sin for me on the cross, that I don’t have to live for my own reputation. Because I’m no longer guilty or condemned for my sin, I can live in the freedom of convict-ability, teach-ability, and humility. So very Amen I pray, in your gracious and tenacious name. (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scotty-smith/a-prayer-for-becoming-more-teachable-and-less-defensive/)