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January 18, 2011

Principle of Edification

What a great lesson and reminder for all of us to practice the principle of edification. 

Edification is the act of restoring or building a structure. God has given us the privilege and the opportunity to build each other up in the body of Christ. I confess that edifying others can be difficult. I often find myself engaging in thoughts or conversations that do not work to build up others. We must be vigilant that the old self doesn’t try to resurrect itself and have its way once again. Self seeks to promote itself, but Jesus living through our lives will seek to promote others. The key is to focus ourselves on Jesus so that He can live selflessly through us.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:11-13 that God has given us the five-fold ministry gifts to equip the saints, build up the body of Christ, and to bring us all into a place of maturity and fullness in Jesus. As we exercise our gifts in ministry our goal should be to build up the lives of others, to come alongside them and help them fulfill the plan and purpose God has for their lives. This kind of edification and service to one another should identify us as believers and be visible in our churches. There has been a lot of talk lately about how our society sees the church as no longer being relevant. Maybe we have lost sight of our objective to edify and build one another up. Who wouldn’t want to be built up and find their purpose in a safe encouraging environment? I think we need to do a better job of allowing the Holy Spirit to create that environment. Through our obedience, He will lift Christ up in our words and deeds.

Philippians 2:7 tells us that Jesus that emptied Himself and took on the form of a servant in the likeness of a man. He did that for you and I to edify us and build us up in the Father. Now we are to follow His example. Edification requires us to get into people lives and give our time and energy to reach them. People are often suspicious and reluctant to let people into their personal space, but that is where Jesus wants to be. It’s up to us to take Him there. It requires intimacy and closeness to help a person begin to renovate their life. Do we know the hopes and dreams of people God has placed in our life? Are we ready to participate in God’s plan for them? I know I have often been guilty of passing by opportunities to edify others. We can also sometimes be guilty of bringing others down to lift up our self. Paul tells us in Romans 15:1-2 that we need to bear with the weak and not to please ourselves, but we should please our neighbors for their good, which lead to edification”

The opportunity to edify others will require vulnerability and openness with our own life. We need to let people into our life to cultivate meaningful relationships and allow Jesus to be seen in how we live. This is a tremendous privilege that we would not shy away from. We shouldn’t think that we need to be prefect and have it all together. People need to see God’s strength in our weakness for His power is made perfect in our weakness (II Cor. 12:9).