Paul warned the Ephesians, “We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14, NKJV). You may think, “This verse doesn’t apply to me. My foundation is biblically solid. I’m not taken in by all the new gospel fads and frivolous gimmicks that are distracting people from Christ. I’m rooted and grounded in God’s Word.”

However, listen to the rest of Paul’s verse: “…carried about… by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Ephesians 4:14). Perhaps you can’t be fazed by false doctrine. Paul says you could still be carried away by a whole other matter. He’s asking, “Are you tossed about by the evil plans of those who oppose you?”

Paul’s message calls us to examine ourselves yet again. How do we react to people who call themselves our brothers and sisters in Christ yet spread falsehoods about us?

When Paul commands, “Be no more children,” he’s telling us, “Those enemies of yours — the ones who use gossip and slander, fraud and manipulation, cunning and craftiness, deception and underhandedness — I tell you, they’re all rebellious children. They’re devious and spoiled. They haven’t allowed God’s grace to do a work in them. Don’t fall for their wicked, childish games. They want you to react to their meanness as a child would, but you are not to answer them with childishness.”

In the next verse, Paul urges us to move on to maturity. “Speaking the truth in love, [you] may grow up in all things into him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:15-16).

You can’t help the slights you receive, the hurts done to you, the gossip spoken against you, the fraud and deception aimed at you. However, you can use these things to grow in grace. View them as opportunities to become more Christlike. Respond softly with a meek spirit. Forgive those who spitefully use you.