September 28, 2020

Ephesians 4:14-15a 

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love . . . 

 

There’s a powerful word in these verses – and it’s not truth or love.  Look just before that. It’s the word “instead”. These words are powerful because they invite us to find a contrast between what came before and what comes after. In these verses, the contrast is between falling victim to the deceitfulness of others, and speaking the truth in love. 

What do these two things have in common? One word: discernment. Verse 14 clearly lays out the consequences of immaturity & poor discernment. Feeling tossed back and forth by the waves. Blown here and there by every teaching. Does that description ring a bell for you? Do you find yourself confused by a relationship, a piece of advice, or an opportunity? I know that for me, confusion, while not a red flag, is at the very least an orange flag in any situation. I pride myself on knowing what is the next best step – even if I lack the skill or discipline to execute it. So when I find myself in a state of confusion, it’s often tied back to my own immaturity or lack of discernment in a key area. If I’m confused by a conflict with my wife, it’s often because I’m operating in a blind spot of my own character (not that she’s cunningly deceitful). If I’m confused by an opportunity in front of me, it’s often because competing desires war inside me. Often, I eventually realize that one is selfish and one is righteous. 

It’s never quite that cut and dry – but I’ve learned to see confusion as a sign that it’s time to stop and discern. Or even better, I can ask others like my therapist, spiritual director, Community Group leader, pastor, wife, and even adult children to help me discern.

If you find yourself confused about something, don’t just brush it off and move on. For all you Ann Arborites, don’t assume that the answer can always be found in research or data. Sometimes confusion is a sign of our own immaturity and we need emotional, spiritual, and relational guidance from those around us. If you don’t have a discerning community of friends, find one. Get in a Community Group or a bible study. Choose to be vulnerable and ask others to point out your blind spots. It’s the road to maturity, and to the ability to speak truth in love. We will talk about that part of the equation on Wednesday!

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