Build Each Other Up
Paul told the Thessalonians to "edify one another" (1 Thes 5:11). The word "edify" comes from the Greek word oikodomeo which is translated more than thirty times in the New Testament as "build" or "built". It's the same word used by Jesus in Matthew 7:24 when He spoke of the wise man who "built his house on the rock." The word "edifice" (a building) is derived from this Greek word. J.H. Thayer, the Greek scholar, says this word in the Bible suggests the act of promoting one's growth in the areas of wisdom, piety, holiness and happiness. W.E. Vine says it is "promoting the spiritual growth and development of character of believers, by teaching or by example.
One of the highest duties a Christian has is to encourage and to build-up other Christians; to help them grow in faith. In a world filled with pessimism, violence and despair; and where many "Christians" tear and bite at each other (often in the self-righteous guise of "being honest" or "just defending the truth," etc.), the need for building up, GOD'S WAY, is ever more apparent. How can we help build each other up? Consider the following suggestions:
ATTITUDE CHANGES - Attitudes in many cases have to change. Rather than attitudes of selfishness or hate, we must develop those of love and selflessness. God says; "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself". Instead of the attitude, "Someone else will do it; or, "they have more time than I do to do those things," or similar wrong thoughts, we must change our thinking to, "No, it's my duty too, as a Christian and as a friend." Instead of thinking "I don't care," we must say "I must care and be concerned."
PRAYER TO GOD - We must pray to God for strength. We need strength to put these things into action as soon as possible. Paul said that "it is Christ who enables (strengthens) us" (1 Tim 1:12). We need God's help through prayer to overcome personal fears. We need God's strength in eliminating other reasons that may be causing us to distant ourselves from needy brethren.
PERSONAL INITIATIVE - Don't wait for someone to come to you first. Go to someone who you know needs encouragement. The "I will one of these days" attitude must change to an "I'm going to do it now" attitude. God tells us: "But exhort one another daily, while it is called today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." (Heb 3:13). Listen to the announcements made each week from the pulpit; call the members to find out who is sick or who has particular needs. Secure a list of the elderly, they can always use an encouraging hand; especially those that are "shut-in."
GOD'S & COMMON SENSE KNOWLEDGE - God's teaching and also down to earth common sense play extremely important parts in building someone up. We must have knowledge of what's needed, and common sense of how best to approach brethren. We certainly do not want to be intrusive, impolite or unfeeling. Even when exhorting someone who needs to be lifted from sin, one must endeavor to be gentle, patient and humble. Paul told Timothy, "and the servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition..." (2 Tim 2:24-25).
Let's all work at "building each other up" - GOD'S WAY. In turn, the Lord will help us to be built up.