Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built upuntil we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
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, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.
Whether we are talking about marriage, parents and children or the workplace, there are principles in Paul’s New Testament letters which can help us to develop better relationships.
To submit means to allow someone else to lead.
Speaking the truth in love is a hard balance to find, but it is worth the effort – accepting correction is rarely enjoyable, but it is so much easier coming from a friend who cares about us and has taken the trouble to choose an appropriate moment and speak to us kindly.
To honour is to respect and value a person, seeing the best in them, appreciating all their efforts and speaking well of them in public.
The context of the passage about speaking the truth in love is about spiritual gifts and unity. When we meet as a group of Christians, it is an opportunity for people to use their spiritual gifts to equip people for works of service. In other words, the words we hear in church meetings should strengthen our faith so that we can go out into our families and workplaces and serve other people during the rest of the week.
In the Bible, there is no distinction between ‘secular’ and ‘sacred’ work. Adam’s job of farming is no less spiritual than Paul’s jobs of making tents and planting churches. If ministry simply means serving, then every Christian should be in ‘full-time ministry’. This does not mean that the church will pay every Christian. It means that every Christian should be ready to use every opportunity to serve people, whether or not we are being paid. If we do this, the result will be unity and love in the church. And the result of unity and love in the church will be more people coming to believe that God sent Jesus. (John 17:21)