“Grow Up!” ( Ephesians 4:15, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


Growing up is what God expects us to do. He commands us to “follow the Truth” – that is, Christ; but He expects us to follow the truth, “in a spirit of charity” – not lording over others in a spirit of one-upmanship. We are called to a “due proportion” with Christ in everything. He is our Head; we are only members of His Body. Who then are we to say to others, “I am better or more needed than you.”? Or, “You are of no value?”

We are to follow the truth, in a spirit of charity, and so grow up, in everything, into a due proportion with Christ, who is our head.

Growing up is what’s expected of us.

On [Christ] all the body depends; it is organized and unified by each contact with the source which supplies it; and thus, each limb receiving the active power it needs, it achieves its natural growth, building itself up through charity. (Ephesians 4:16)

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“Confirmed in the Belief” ( Colossians 2: 6 – 9, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


Paul worries about the Colossians – they do not know him personally. He is with them in spirit, but not face to face. He is concerned they are deceived by high-sounding, religious jabber that may call them away from our Head, that is, Jesus Christ who is the full embodiment of “the Godhead.” Paul seeks to encourage them to avoid the principles which appear spiritual on the outside and follow after the One who nailed those principles to a Cross. He writes:

“as ye have taken Jesus Christ our Lord, walk ye in him,

and be ye rooted and builded above in him [rooted and built above in Christ], and confirmed in the belief, as ye have learned, abounding in him in doing of thankings.

See ye that no man deceive you by philosophy and vain fallacy, after the tradition of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ.

For in him dwelleth body-like all the fullness of the Godhead.”

Paul calls the Colossians to “abound in Him in doing of thankings” and in so doing, confirm themselves as “in the belief.” They are not to worry over whether they’ve eaten the right thing or celebrated the correct day; rather they are to abound in love, in unity, and in thanksgiving. As Paul writes elsewhere:

“8 The time will come when we shall outgrow prophecy, when speaking with tongues will come to an end, when knowledge will be swept away; we shall never have finished with charity. Our knowledge, our prophecy, are only glimpses of the truth; 10 and these glimpses will be swept away when the time of fulfilment comes. 11 (Just so, when I was a child, I talked like a child, I had the intelligence, the thoughts of a child; since I became a man, I have outgrown childish ways.) 12 At present, we are looking at a confused reflection in a mirror; then, we shall see face to face; now, I have only glimpses of knowledge; then, I shall recognize God as he has recognized me. 13 Meanwhile, faith, hope and charity persist, all three; but the greatest of them all is charity.” (1 Corinthians 13: 8-13, KNOX)

“A Tinkling Cymbal” ( 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 GNV ) by Carley Evans


Hi-hat cymbals

Love is the greater gift, greater and of considerably more value than speaking in tongues or faith that moves mountains or prophecy that warns of disaster or knowledge that reveals “all secrets and all knowledge.” Without love, Paul claims we are the same as “sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” Our actions, though they be good deeds – even deeds of the martyr, are of no profit to us if we have no love. He warns:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and Angels, and have not love, I am as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I had the gift of prophecy, and knew all secrets and all knowledge, yea, if I had all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and had not love, I were nothing. And though I feed the poor with all my goods, and though I give my body, that I be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.

I can’t help but think many of us walk about tinkling and sounding as we perform our ‘good deeds’. I include myself in this group – for love does not come naturally to me. I know this is true because I find myself angry at people more than I should be if I love them. Most of my anger against people springs from my heart when I am in my vehicle, and is directed at total strangers.

I can almost hear the tinkling cymbal as it pings down the road. If only I had love, I’d be somebody.

“Proof” ( Philippians 1:9-10, WYC ) by Carley Evans


English: Animated geometric proof of the Pytha...
English: Animated geometric proof of the Pythagoras theorem, for reference to proof see Pythagorean Theorem at Cut the Knot

I love the idea of a proof – a mathematical, scientific method of proving a theorem. What proof does the Apostle Paul call us to use in “proving the better things?” He calls us to use charity.

“And this thing I pray, that your charity be plenteous more and more in knowing [that your charity be plenteous more and more in science, or knowing], and in all wit; that ye approve the better things [that ye prove the better things], that ye be clean and without offence in the day of Christ;”

If we have charity then we are “clean and without offence” now and “in the day of Christ.”

“In This Thing?” ( 1 John 4: 8-10, Wycliffe Bible (WYC)) by Carley Evans


Jesus Christ Crucifix

“In this thing?” What thing is this? Is the author using this phrase for emphasis, akin to “thing is…” or “see here…” or “verily, verily…” as used by Jesus Himself? Is this why the New International Version completely eliminates this carrier phrase? Or does the author mean “in Christ” when he states “in this thing”?

8 He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is charity.

9 In this thing the charity of God appeared in us, for God sent his one begotten Son into the world, that we live by him.

10 In this thing is charity, not as we had loved God, but for he first loved us, and sent his Son forgiveness for our sins [and sent his Son helping for our sins].

If we do not love others, we don’t know God for God is charity. God is love. In Christ, the charity of God appears in us because God sent His one and only Son, Jesus, into the world. In Christ is love. God first loves us in Christ. He sent His Son so as to forgive us our sins. And, we live by Him.

“Live In Love” ( 1 John 4:18, WYC ) by Carley Evans


Dangerous Risk Adrenaline Suicide by Fear of F...
(Photo credit: epSos.de)

In perfect charity, neither fear nor reluctance exists. If we fear or are reluctant to love — or to accept love — then we are still concerned with pain and punishment. Dread means “to fear greatly; be in extreme apprehension of; to be reluctant to do, meet, or experience.”

Are you afraid to love? Are you reluctant to receive charity? Do you fear punishment? Are you wary of rejection? Are you reluctant to give of yourself? If you live in dread, then you are not perfected in love.

“Dread is not in charity, but perfect charity putteth out dread [but perfect charity sendeth out dread]; for dread hath pain. But he that dreadeth, is not perfect in charity.”

Jesus says, “Be not your heart afraid [Be not your heart distroubled], nor dread it; ye believe in God, and believe ye in me.” (John 14:1)

Don’t live in dread. Live in love. Jesus’ love is perfect.

“Long-Suffering” ( 1 Corinthians 13: 4-5, KJV ) by Carley Evans


William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - Chari...

Can you see yourself suffering for a long time under the abuse of a wife or husband? Can you see yourself being only kind to that person? Can you see yourself not envying your neighbor whose wife apparently treats him like a king? Can you imagine never seeking your own welfare? Can you imagine not being easily provoked and not thinking evil of the spouse who abuses you? Can you not think more highly of yourself because you live under the thumb of an abusive spouse?

4Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.”