Mature -- only in love
"... speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him ..." (v.15)
We are seeing that love is the first outcome of the Spirit within, and if this is lacking, everything is lacking.
The first indication of the fact that we are growing spiritually is that we are growing in love. If we grow in love, then we grow -- period. Without growing in love, we cannot grow in God, for His essential nature is love.
Our passage today, in the Moffatt translation, tells us that we are to "hold by the truth, and by our love to grow up wholly into Him." There is only one way to grow up wholly into Him, and that is "by our love." We remain immature if we are immature in love. If the love is ingrown and focused on itself then the result is an immature personality. If the love is selectively applied to certain groups, again the result is an immature personality.
We are mature to the extent that we can love. Indeed all other growth, without growth in love, is what someone has described as "sucker love -- growth that bears no fruit." J. B. Phillips' translation of 1 Corinthians 8:1 puts it this way: "While knowledge may make a man look big, it is only love that can make him grow to his full stature." There is a great emphasis on getting knowledge in today's Church. A lecturer in a leading British theological college recently wrote: "Know the facts of the faith and that will redeem you." I know many Christians who are good at giving facts in relation to the faith but not so good at giving love. Knowledge looks big, but it is just big barrenness unless love is behind it.
O Father, I sense that You are bringing me to the very crux of things. Hold me to it, for unless I grow in love then I do not grow in You. Help me, dear Father. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What are we to be rooted in?
2. What was Paul's desire for the Ephesians?