TO CHEW ON: "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify." 1 Corinthians 18:23
We have dwelt in the past on how we as Christians may have freedoms which we intentionally restrict in order to help and not hinder or offend others. Today, let's change our focus from what we shouldn't do to what we should. Let's look at the things that "edify."
[The word edify transliterated oikodomeo, is a word for building. It is used here in the metaphorical sense for the construction and well-being of the church. Used this way it means "to found, establish; to promote growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue' to grow in wisdom and piety."]
Edify used in this way appears often in the New Testament. As I look through verses that speak of it, I see them fitting into two categories:
1. How we are edified
- Through God's word. Paul's parting speech to the elders at Ephesis brings this out: "I commend you to God and to the word of His grace which is able to build you up…" Acts 20:32.
- Through church leaders. Again and again the visits of the early church leaders to the various congregation are described as edifying, or building up: Acts 14:22; 15:32,41; 18:23,27.
- Our leaders' authority is for our edification - 2 Corinthians 10:8.
- We're edified through the different roles in which they come to us, such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers - Ephesians 14:12,29
- Even their scoldings and rebukes are meant to build us up—as Paul assured the Corinthians - 2 Corinthians 13:10.
2. How we edify others:
- Like the early church did to grow, we walk "… in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit" - Acts 9:31. This works itself out in many practical ways:
- We pursue harmony and peace - Romans 14:19.
- We comfort each other - 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
- We seek to please our neighbors and pursue their well-being - Romans 15:2; 1 Corinthians 10:24 (part of our reading).
- We use our spiritual gifts - 1 Corinthians 14:3, 12.
- We take part in corporate worship: "… Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification" - 1 Corinthians 14:26.
- We love - 1 Corinthians 8:1.
Today, let's focus on building others up and being built up through God's word and the Christian community, rather than how close we can live to the line of things that are not lawful or edifying.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the reach means of edification we have in You and through the church. Help me to build up others today. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.