Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 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.—Ephesians 4:11-15 (NLT, emphasis mine)
I’ve been studying Ephesians for the past year and “speak the truth in love” is one area that continues to stand out to me. We live in a dark world, one that wants to hear what makes them feel good, that wants to embrace what legitimizes their thoughts and actions and makes them feel they’re okay just the way they are. But this is not the truth of Scripture. As Christians, we have a responsibility to 1) allow our leaders to teach us so we can do God’s work and build up the church; 2) be unified in our faith and knowledge of Jesus; 3) mature in the Lord, seeking to be more like Jesus Christ; 4) be stable, not changing our minds when new moral and religious ideas come our way; and 5) speak the truth in love. Scripture is the barometer for our lives and when our lives don’t look like what God says they should look like, we must speak the truth in love, even to ourselves.
From these verses it’s clear that Jesus is our barometer for maturing and loving so we must look to His life to show us. But if we want to see someone who greatly embodied the love of Jesus Christ and spoke the truth in love, I think Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an excellent example. On this Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, celebrating the birth of Dr. King, I thought it would be good for us to meditate on some of his quotations about love. I believe Dr. King embodied Ephesians 4:11-15. He was that prophet, that pastor, and that teacher who challenged us to be mature in the Lord, no longer immature like children so we can speak the truth in love, “growing in every way more and more like Christ… .” He was a good model of love stability and one we would benefit from following.
Love Quotations from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”
Take a Risk Challenge: Live like Dr. King and you will love like Jesus Christ. Choose one of Dr. King’s quotations to meditate and move on this week. Whatever the love quote you will be equipped to show a radical act of love.
My One Thousand Gifts List
Sleeping through the night and excited to rise this morning
Joshua telling me that I’m “an important person” because “women with dreadlocks are serious”
Dancing and making music with the boys at the youngest two’s beckoning
Pleasantly surprised afternoon of intimacies with Flynn
Joshua saying “I love this house”
Nate telling me he liked my hair and then styling it, saying, “I’m going to make you a princess”
A hard discipleship meeting
Resting even though the boys didn’t nap
Justus trying to get me to chase him by coming up to me, giggling heartily and running away
Having two meeting rescheduled and one cancelled, freeing up my time