Listen To Most Current
Grace Notes Archive
June 2021 (3)
May 2021 (5)
April 2021 (4)
March 2021 (5)
February 2021 (4)
January 2021 (5)
December 2020 (4)
November 2020 (4)
October 2020 (5)
September 2020 (4)
August 2020 (5)
July 2020 (21)
June 2020 (29)
May 2020 (28)
April 2020 (31)
March 2020 (5)
February 2020 (4)
January 2020 (5)
December 2019 (5)
November 2019 (3)
October 2019 (5)
September 2019 (4)
August 2019 (5)
July 2019 (4)
June 2019 (5)
May 2019 (4)
April 2019 (4)
March 2019 (4)
February 2019 (6)
January 2019 (4)
December 2018 (4)
November 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (4)
August 2018 (4)
July 2018 (3)
June 2018 (4)
May 2018 (4)
April 2018 (4)
March 2018 (4)
February 2018 (5)
January 2018 (4)
December 2017 (4)
November 2017 (5)
October 2017 (4)
September 2017 (5)
August 2017 (4)
July 2017 (4)
June 2017 (5)
May 2017 (4)
April 2017 (5)
March 2017 (3)
February 2017 (4)
January 2017 (3)
December 2016 (5)
November 2016 (4)
October 2016 (4)
September 2016 (5)
August 2016 (3)
July 2016 (4)
June 2016 (5)
May 2016 (4)
April 2016 (5)
March 2016 (4)
February 2016 (4)
January 2016 (5)
December 2015 (4)
November 2015 (4)
October 2015 (3)
September 2015 (4)
August 2015 (5)
July 2015 (5)
June 2015 (4)
May 2015 (5)
April 2015 (2)
March 2015 (4)
February 2015 (4)
January 2015 (5)
December 2014 (4)
November 2014 (5)
October 2014 (4)
September 2014 (4)
August 2014 (4)
July 2014 (5)
June 2014 (4)
May 2014 (5)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (4)
February 2014 (4)
January 2014 (5)
December 2013 (4)
November 2013 (5)
October 2013 (4)
September 2013 (4)
August 2013 (5)
July 2013 (4)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (5)
April 2013 (4)
March 2013 (4)
February 2013 (5)
January 2013 (4)
December 2012 (4)
November 2012 (5)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (4)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (4)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (4)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (4)
January 2012 (4)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (4)
October 2011 (4)
September 2011 (5)
August 2011 (4)
July 2011 (4)
June 2011 (5)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (5)
March 2011 (4)
February 2011 (4)
January 2011 (5)
December 2010 (4)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (6)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (4)
March 2010 (5)
February 2010 (4)
January 2010 (5)
December 2009 (5)
November 2009 (3)
October 2009 (6)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (5)
July 2009 (4)
June 2009 (4)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (4)
January 2009 (5)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (5)
October 2008 (4)
September 2008 (5)
August 2008 (4)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (4)
March 2008 (5)
February 2008 (1)
Grace Notes

Current Articles | Categories | Search | Syndication

SEEK TO EDIFY
by Philip Owen

            The believers in the church at Corinth had a problem.  Actually, they had numerous problems, but one of them was their desire to speak in tongues, not so that they might be a blessing to others, but it would appear from Paul’s charge to them, so that they might impress their fellow worshippers.  They wanted the glory and self-aggrandizement that they believed might accrue to them through the exercise of such a dramatic gift.  God’s honor was not their motivation, nor was the blessing of their brethren their purpose.  Paul’s exhortation to them, therefore, is pointed:  “as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church” (I Cor. 14:12).  The sign gifts (including speaking in tongues) ceased shortly after Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians when the New Testament canon was complete and God had revealed all He has to say to man, but the principle Paul set forth is as pertinent to believers today as it was when he penned it two millennia ago:  “seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.”

            “Seek.”  A gift is gratuitous, bestowed by God aside from any merit or effort on our part.  What one person might struggle and fail at another can do almost effortlessly because God has gifted him in that area.  And he deserves no special credit for it because God has freely gifted him.  But—no one truly edifies the brethren effortlessly.  For that to be accomplished, God requires effort on the part of the believer.  We must consciously and actively seek to edify others, or it will not occur.  Clearly, from God’s perspective, it is not the exercise of gift that is demanded so much as the effort to build up the brethren.  Is it our desire to edify?  Do we actively seek ways to strengthen those of “like precious faith”?  Or is our energy expended in putting ourselves on display or pursuing our own interests?  Seek to edify the brethren is a command given to every believer, and we will be judged according to the degree to which we pursue that end.

            “That ye may excel.”  That qualifying clause provides us with the “how much” of our seeking.  We will not please the Lord with an occasional attempt at being a blessing to our brethren; edifying the brethren cannot be accomplished as a hobby or in our spare time.  As the word excel indicates, we are to “super abound” as edifiers.  Paul speaks in terms of superlatives:  we are to give our best, our most, our greatest to this cause.  Yet how many among us can honestly say before God that we have even come close to fulfilling that demand?  We may super abound in our efforts to keep up with the Joneses, to be promoted in our work, to be awarded for our ability in academics or sports, but to bless the brethren?  Sadly, such thoughts are not in the forefront of most of our minds.

            “The edifying of the church.”  What a building that is!  Man’s constructions collapse, buildings crumble, empires fall, dynasties disappear.  But the labor God calls the believer to engage in lasts for eternity:  it is an effort that produces eternal reward.  To build up the body of Christ is no small undertaking; it involves being a co-laborer with Him.  The blessing is not in being gifted but in using that gift for the blessing of others.  We are called of God, not to pursue our own ambitions and goals, but those of others.  May we desire to be in teaching or preaching not eloquent but effective, in voice not beautiful but blessed, in effort not flawless but faithful, in prayer not impressive but importunate, in giving not boastful but bountiful, and in service not dazzling but diligent.  “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.  For even Christ pleased not himself” (Rom. 15:2, 3a).

Actions: E-mail | Permalink

Previous Page | Next Page