Daily encouragement

Video by

Kendra Cortez

ACF Devo Team

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Ephesians 4:14-16

We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. (NRSV)

Behind the Scenes

Have you ever felt like someone was actively working against your success? Or maybe you are working hard only to suddenly realize one day that you are so far away from your goal because of something you failed to account for? I’ve been there. This is exactly what these verses warn against. When we read the words “deceitful scheming” it is the Greek word methodeia. Looks a lot like the English word: Method. In some translations it translates as “trickery” or “lie in wait.”

Paul is warning the Ephesian church that the devil is very much lying in wait, methodically planning how to stand against the success of the church one member at a time. He plants these ideas that seem like they could be truth in our lives - maybe they even contain small elements of truth in them - but are perverted just enough to make destructive lies. They aren’t real truth; they just seem like it. Satan loves to get us to believe false ideas. These “winds of doctrine” that push us around are destructive to ourselves and the church. We need to be on guard.

Make it Real

One of the things I loved when my kids were in the 2–4-year-old range was that I could whisper about anything in their ear, and they would go say it to their mother. It made for some pretty good laughs. They didn’t know what I was up to. They didn’t know to test what I was saying with how my wife would receive it. They just said it! It was lots of fun for me when it worked. But rarely were these ploys beneficial for the whole family - they were my scheming to get a good laugh. Occasionally, my wife thought they were funny too.

These were pretty harmless. Satan plays the same game, but it is much more harmful when Satan gets the church to believe and repeat untruth. It is critical to test everything, hold on to what is good and discard what is not (1 Thessalonians 5:21). A lot of the ideas in our world sound like they are good - even loving. But they are often disguised lies that can do lots of harm. It seems good to avoid confrontation, but often it is necessary for reconciliation. It is more comfortable to turn a blind eye, but that never allows proper accountability that leads to growth. “Live and let live” is an easy mantra to excuse my bad behavior, but it probably won’t stand up on Judgment Day.

We cannot just accept popular thought from our culture. Jesus commands us to be “in the world, but not of the world” (John 17:16). We should be different than everyone who doesn’t follow Christ. If we are just like them, we have nothing to offer them. But we do have something (rather, someone) to offer!

We owe each other more than silent disapproval or blanket approval. We need to stand together and promote health in our body. It’s how we help each other avoid the trap of the one who “lies in wait.” So, let us test everything, speak real truth with love, and beat Satan’s trickery. This is what spiritual maturity can look like.

End in Prayer

Father, I want to speak truth and believe what is real. Please continue to help me discern from your Spirit what your voice sounds like so I can recognize the lies coming from Satan. Surround me with friends who help me know when I am beginning to be pushed to and fro and can remind me of your truth. Help me be that friend to others, as well. In all of this, let me speak in love. Amen.

Written by

Drew Ames

ACF Devo Team