NT Tuesday: Build Up One Another

Open Bible MarkLast week we looked at exhort one another. This week we will look at “building up of one another” or “edifying one another.” Romans 14:19 NASB reads “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” (I had to “resort” to using the NASB because the ESV does not use the terms “one another” in its translation of this verse.)

The verse follows an exhortation by Paul to mature Christians to not allow their freedom to participate in certain liberties to be a stumbling block or a hindrance to other Christians as they walk with Jesus on the path that He leads them. Rather than causing “differences” to become an issue, Paul argues, we should spend time strengthening each other.

A similar thought is also found in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 – For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

God, in His manifold and infinite wisdom, has designed the body of Christ to be knit together. Believers are not individuals running around on their own individual crusade or left alone to deal with their own issues, problems, challenges, or successes. Rather, our Father has designed a body where each member is joined together with each other and with Jesus Christ as our Head. He has designed this body so that each member is needed and vital. He has designed the body so that each member is necessary for the mutual upbuilding of the other members. In other words, we need each other. We need each other in our walk with the Lord, we need in other to be better equipped to use the gifts given to us, we need each other for encouragement, exhortation, prayer, confession, etc.

Because we need each other – and let’s think selfishly for the moment – the more we can positively impact one another, the better off we will be because the body, as a whole, will be in better shape. It’s sort of like the exhortation to husbands to love their wives like their own bodies. We can extrapolate that verse from marriage and apply it to body life – “believers edify the other members of the body as you want to be built up yourself.”

I want to make one more observation about Romans 14. Notice what Paul says. He says we are to “pursue the things which… edify one another”. That, to me, sounds like it needs to be purposeful, not random. In other words, we need to proactively and decidedly behave in such a way that it builds up the other members of the body. We need to structure our day, our week, our month around being edifying to other members of our body. That takes time, investment, sacrifice. But it would seem that it would be a wise investment and it seems that it would be pleasing to Jesus.

Until next week – fulfill your ministry and build one another up! Hey, why not invite them to the Shepherding Conference at Greenwood Hills later this week (shameful plug!!)

 

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Photo credit: CreationSwap/Krist Adams

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5 comments

  1. Believers are not individuals running around on their own individual crusade or left alone to deal with their own issues, problems, challenges, or successes. Rather, our Father has designed a body where each member is joined together with each other and with Jesus Christ as our Head.

    I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on how this fits in with Galatians 1: “For do I now seek to satisfy men or God? or do I seek to please men? If I were yet pleasing men, I were not Christ’s bondman.” (Galatians 1:10 JND). There’s individual responsibility as well as corporate responsibility, right? I’d love to hear what you think about it.

    • while I can not speak for Mike, I will make a few comments of my own. You are correct there is individual responsibility as well as corporate responsibility. Unfortunately, in practice the pendulum tends to swing to one extreme or the other.

      While believers have individual responsibly for their own (in)actions — failure of the corporate body does not provide one with an acceptable excuse — believers should not go to the opposite extreme of behaving like a lone ranger. The assembly has many purposes including the mutual edification and encouragement of one another.

      • Scott, thanks for weighing in. I appreciate your comments on this, especially “failure of the corporate body does not provide one with an acceptable excuse.”

        I wasn’t trying to derail the article with a tangential comment, but I found that statement striking and I was hoping to hear others’ thoughts on how those [seemingly] opposite principles tie together. Not that there’s an easy answer.

  2. Mike Stoudt

    Mark, thanks for your comments. I certainly did NOT mean to negate the individual responsibility. In fact, if you can find my blog on sharing the gospel, you can see that I took a very strong view on the individual’s responsibility to share the Word of God with the lost. What I meant by my comment is that the BODY works best when we are all fulfilling our individual responsibilities BECAUSE our individual responsibilities usually have the end result of building up the body – equipping each other! And, that’s what I was going for. I meant that God has not left us alone to sort of struggle with our ministry, but rather, we are all to be useful and beneficial to each other in doing our own ministry. When I am faithful, it benefits others!

    Does that help? Scott, thanks for your thoughts, too! I agree with both of your thoughts.

    • Mike, I didn’t read what you wrote as a negation of individual responsibility, and I sure wasn’t meaning my comment as an objection or an attack. I’m interested in how these two principles tie together: I’ve been mulling it over for the last two or three years… I was struck by your wording, and thought I’d ask what you thought.

      Your additional comments, and Scott’s, are very helpful. Thanks to both of you for taking the time to answer.