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Darlene

Ephesians 4:15-16

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Heavenly Father,

 

We need to talk...please...

 

Ever since yesterday I've been increasingly restless inside...is that the word I'm looking for Lord? Restless? Perhaps discontent...no longer able to barely subsist on the crumbs that I've occassionally taken from the floor beneath Your banquet table. The more I read Your Word, the more I need of You. I am learning Father God, and You are wooing me closer and closer to You...teaching me how I am not the unwanted, defiled orphan standing outside Your pearly gates, but that I am Your child, the child that You created and that You love with a depth I can't even begin to fathom. I have been so blind Father God but by Your tender and loving hand, I am beginning to see, and the more I see, the more I crave, the more I want, the more I need...

 

Father, I feel inadequate trying to put into the written word, the passion with which I feel these things in my heart. I do the best to describe it, but it just feels so shallow compared to how I really mean it in my heart. As I stood in the shower just a few minutes ago, crying from the center of my being, telling You I could no longer live with less...I need more of You...more and more and more of You, as much as You will give me...this is the cry of my heart today...

 

You reminded me of where Jesus stated in John that He is the bread of life. That he who comes to Jesus will never go hungry, he who believes in Jesus will never be thirsty...So Lord Jesus, I'm hungry and thirsty for You...I no longer want the stale, day old bread left over from others tables. I want the fresh Bread of life, a fresh drink from Your table...I want to learn more about You, to savour You, to be nourished by You...

 

This is MY life that You have created, and MY will that I willingly turn over to You...it is mine to give, because I can no longer deny the fact that I cannot live without You, I don't want to live without You. Whatever You're doing in my heart is taking root and those roots are growing deeper, so with all the passion that you've placed in my heart and my mind (and yes Lord, I know I can be a little overboard, but that's just the way I am, so let me be that way over You)...

 

I don't care what You do with my life anymore...even if it is only within the confines of my land here, as I tend my garden and my animals, as long as I know and experience Your fullness, I can be complete.

 

So, Father, I guess this burden that has been laying on my heart since yesterday is my public proclimation of truly giving my life to You. I have no idea why I'm even writing this out other than I know that this is what You'd have me do.

 

As I just typed the above Father, and searched my mind for the date for today, I realized it was the ex's birthday. My heart and my soul instantly repelled against writing this today, wanting to copy and paste it all over again tomorrow...not wanting anything that is this important to me to be on this particular date, begging You Father, to let me have a date unattached to any other, to let it stand on its own...

 

But how much do I mean the above Lord? How much am I willing to hit enter and post this today. There are some that might think it utter foolishness for me to be stricken with such strong feelings over todays date...they don't understand, but You do, and yet...

 

I do want You more, I don't care what time or date it is, this isn't about anyone but You and me right now. I can't shake the feeling that the exhuberance I was feeling just a minute ago is a little bit marred, but I have to trust You...

 

So here I stand Lord, knowing I have nothing to bring to the great banquet table, but my life that I'm willing to give to You...this isn't about salvation Father, this is about trusting You, letting go of everything in my life and free falling into Your arms. You are my Heavenly Father, I am Your child, sealed by the blood of Christ, forever written in the Lambs Book of Life, and I willingly, without reservation, belong to You...it's just time Father, and I know it.

 

Take these words Lord, that sound like foolish babbling and annoint them to bring glory to You.

 

I dunno what else to say right now Lord, but to bless today's reading of Your Word...make it come alive, annoint it, and plant its truth as living and breathing into our hearts to grow therein.

 

In Jesus Name, and only because of Him can I write these words...

 

 

15. But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

 

Calvin writes, "But, speaking the truth. Having already said that we ought not to be children, destitute of reason and judgment, he now enjoins us to grow up in the truth. Though we have not arrived at man’s estate, we ought at least, as we have already said, to be advanced children. The truth of God ought to have such a firm hold of us, that all the contrivances and attacks of Satan shall not draw us from our course; and yet, as we have not hitherto attained full and complete strength, we must make progress until death.

 

He points out the design of this progress, that Christ may be the head, “that in all things he may have the pre-eminence,” (Colossians 1:18,) and that in him alone we may grow in vigor or in stature. Again, we see that no man is excepted; all are enjoined to be subject, and to take their own places in the body.

 

What aspect then does Popery present, but that of a crooked, deformed person? Is not the whole symmetry of the church destroyed, when one man, acting in opposition to the head, refuses to be reckoned one of the members? The Papists deny this, and allege that the Pope is nothing more than a ministerial head. But such cavils do them no service. The tyranny of their idol must be acknowledged to be altogether inconsistent with that order which Paul here recommends. In a word, a healthful condition of the church requires that Christ alone “must increase,” and all others “must decrease.” (John 3:30.) Whatever increase we obtain must be regulated in such a manner, that we shall remain in our own place, and contribute to exalt the head.

 

When he bids us give heed to the truth in love, he uses the preposition in, (ἐν,) like the corresponding Hebrew preposition ב, (beth,) as signifying with, — speaking the truth With love. If each individual, instead of attending exclusively to his own concerns, shall desire mutual intercourse, there will be agreeable and general progress. Such, the Apostle assures us, must be the nature of this harmony, that men shall not be suffered to forget the claims of truth, or, disregarding them, to frame an agreement according to their own views. This proves the wickedness of the Papists, who lay aside the word of God, and labor to force our compliance with their decisions."

 

Lord Jesus, grow me more into You.

 

Henry writes, "That we should speak the truth in love (v. 15), or follow the truth in love, or be sincere in love to our fellow-christians. While we adhere to the doctrine of Christ, which is the truth, we should live in love one with another. Love is an excellent thing; but we must be careful to preserve truth together with it. Truth is an excellent thing; yet it is requisite that we speak it in love, and not in contention. These two should go together—truth and peace. (3.) That we should grow up into Christ in all things. Into Christ, so as to be more deeply rooted in him. In all things; in knowledge, love, faith, and all the parts of the new man. We should grow up towards maturity, which is opposed to being children. Those are improving Christians who grow up into Christ. The more we grow into an acquaintance with Christ, faith in him, love to him, dependence upon him, the more we shall flourish in every grace. He is the head; and we should thus grow, that we may thereby honour our head. The Christian's growth tends to the glory of Christ."

 

Clarke comments, "But, speaking the truth in love] The truth recommended by the apostle is the whole system of Gospel doctrine; this they are to teach and preach, and this is opposed to the deceit mentioned above. This truth, as it is the doctrine of God's eternal love to mankind, must be preached in love. Scolding and abuse from the pulpit or press, in matters of religion, are truly monstrous. He who has the truth of God has no need of any means to defend or propagate it, but those which love to God and man provides.

 

Grow up into him] This is a continuance of the metaphor taken from the members of a human body receiving nourishment equally and growing up, each in its due proportion to other parts, and to the body in general. The truth of God should be so preached to all the members of the Church of God, that they may all receive an increase of grace and life; so that each, in whatever state he may be, may get forward in the way of truth and holiness. In the Church of Christ there are persons in various states: the careless, the penitent, the lukewarm, the tempted, the diffident, the little child, the young man, and the father. He who has got a talent for the edification of only one of those classes should not stay long in a place, else the whole body cannot grow up in all things under his ministry."

 

16. From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in love.

 

Calvin writes, "From whom the whole body. All our increase should tend to exalt more highly the glory of Christ. This is now proved by the best possible reason. It is he who supplies all our wants, and without whose protection we cannot be safe. As the root conveys sap to the whole tree, so all the vigor which we possess must flow to us from Christ. There are three things here which deserve our attention. The first is what has now been stated. All the life or health which is diffused through the members flows from the head; so that the members occupy a subordinate rank. The second is, that, by the distribution made, the limited share of each renders the communication between all the members absolutely necessary. The third is, that, without mutual love, the health of the body cannot be maintained. Through the members, as canals, is conveyed from the head all that is necessary for the nourishment of the body. While this connection is upheld, the body is alive and healthy. Each member, too, has its own proper share, — according to the effectual working in the measure of every part.

 

Lastly, he shows that by love the church is edified, — to the edifying of itself in love. This means that no increase is advantageous, which does not bear a just proportion to the whole body. That man is mistaken who desires his own separate growth. If a leg or arm should grow to a prodigious size, or the mouth be more fully distended, would the undue enlargement of those parts be otherwise than injurious to the whole frame? In like manner, if we wish to be considered members of Christ, let no man be anything for himself, but let us all be whatever we are for the benefit of each other. This is accomplished by love; and where it does not reign, there is no “edification,” but an absolute scattering of the church."

 

Oh Lord, wherever You place me in Your body, let me be nothing more than an open channel with which You may flow Your will for our lives, reaching all parts of Your body. Take this distorted figure we've convoluted in our selfishness over the years and make us all willing to be used by You, trusting You to maintain the balance needed so that we as Your church, might present a holy, glorious Bride, worthy of all You have given.

 

Henry writes, "We should be assisting and helpful one to another, as members of the same body, v. 16. Here the apostle makes a comparison between the natural body and Christ's mystical body, that body of which Christ is the head: and he observes that as there must be communion and mutual communications of the members of the body among themselves, in order to their growth and improvement, so there must be mutual love and unity, together with the proper fruits of these, among Christians, in order to their spiritual improvement and growth in grace. From whom, says he (that is, from Christ their head, who conveys influence and nourishment to every particular member), the whole body of Christians, fitly joined together and compacted (being orderly and firmly united among themselves, every one in his proper place and station), by that which every joint supplies (by the assistance which every one of the parts, thus united, gives to the whole, or by the Spirit, faith, love, sacraments, &c., which, like the veins and arteries in the body, serve to unite Christians to Christ their head, and to one another as fellow-members), according to the effectual working in the measure of every part (that is, say some, according to the power which the Holy Ghost exerts to make God's appointed means effectual for this great end, in such a measure as Christ judges to be sufficient and proper for every member, according to its respective place and office in the body; or, as others, according to the power of Christ, who, as head, influences and enlivens every member; or, according to the effectual working of every member, in communicating to others of what it has received, nourishment is conveyed to all in their proportions, and according to the state and exigence of every part) makes increase of the body, such an increase as is convenient for the body. Observe, Particular Christians receive their gifts and graces from Christ for the sake and benefit of the whole body. Unto the edifying of itself in love. We may understand this two ways:—Either that all the members of the church may attain a greater measure of love to Christ and to one another; or that they are moved to act in the manner mentioned from love to Christ and to one another. Observe, Mutual love among Christians is a great friend to spiritual growth: it is in love that the body edifies itself; whereas a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand."

 

And finally, Clarke writes, "From whom the whole body] Dr. Macknight has a just view of this passage, and I cannot express my own in more suitable terms: "The apostle's meaning is, that, as the human body is formed by the union of all the members to each other, under the head, and by the fitness of each member for its own office and place in the body, so the Church is formed by the union of its members under Christ, the head. Farther, as the human body increases till it arrives at maturity by the energy of every part in performing its proper function, and by the sympathy of every part with the whole, so the body or Church of Christ grows to maturity by the proper exercise of the gifts and graces of individuals for the benefit of the whole." This verse is another proof of the wisdom and learning of the apostle. Not only the general ideas here are anatomical, but the whole phraseology is the same. The articulation of the bones, the composition and action of the muscles, the circulation of the fluids, carrying nourishment to every part, and depositing some in every place, the energy of the system in keeping up all the functions, being particularly introduced, and the whole terminating in the general process of nutrition, increasing the body, and supplying all the waste that had taken place in consequence of labour, &c.

 

Let any medical man, who understands the apostle's language, take up this verse, and he will be convinced that the apostle had all these things in view. I am surprised that some of those who have looked for the discoveries of the moderns among the ancients, have not brought in the apostle's word epicorhgia, supply, from epicorhgew, to lead up, lead along, minister, supply, &c., as some proof that the circulation of the blood was not unknown to St. Paul!"

 

Holy Father,

 

I feel as if I'm leaving the only home I've ever known. It was a home that was closed and dark, yet all too familiar...there were many doors in my home, but they lead to nothing more than small closets...closets that I don't feel the need to go into detail, but that You and I both know all too well.

 

Also in this house, there's always been a window. Most times I kept the curtains drawn, wanting to keep out the Light that was You. There were times I would stand at that window, seeing the light of Your love, the warmth of Your embrace, the calling of my name. There were even times, I'd open that front door and Your glory would shine down upon me, but I would never let go of the handle of that door...to afraid to let go of all I'd ever known.

 

I am a warrior at heart Lord...I warred against you, and all that I wanted. I wreaked havoc in many lives and yet here I find myself finding and wanting no defense against the war of love that You are waging on my heart. I expected to be slayed and was met by Your gentle touch. I expected the consequences of my rebellion to bring me death, and instead You died in my stead, that I might live.

 

I let go of my house, in exchange of living with You. I don't know how to live outside that house Lord Jesus, so I have to trust that You will teach me, that You will guide me, that You will protect me. If You were willing to give Your life for me, how can I not trust You with that, which You already paid for in full...

 

I dunno Lord. Do Your perfect work in each of our lives...please...and thank You.

 

In Jesus Name,

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