Therefore, let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
I count it as nothing but God’s timely blessing that I came to salvation during a period when a community of believers of my age and life situation had been established for someone just like me. I often have thought of the role of that community in my walk because I was in desperate need of Christian friends. I had no godly community at all before Christ, and the influence of this group of people was vital to my growth in the Spirit. It was a selfish time for me because my concern was building myself into the man God had planned all this time, and I felt that I was way behind. I was focused on what I needed to change, and I was a sponge ready to soak up whatever spiritual knowledge was available, but there was something missing in this approach. I neglected to try to discover what I had to offer to my new brothers and sisters in return.
It can be easy for us to focus on ourselves during this process of transformation because we recognize the many things we still need to work on or because we fail to see that we actually have value to give to others. The thing is, this walk is never just about ourselves. We are part of a greater Church body, and we are called to have an influence on the other individual members of that body. God only calls us to this because He also equips us for the calling. We are to pursue the edification of our brothers and sisters because it is necessary for our growth and theirs. There will be times when I really need to be supported with the word, and there will be other times when someone else really needs that word from me. Spiritual growth requires that we distinguish between those times and pursue opportunities to edify others within the body. For as much as we receive, there is that much more for us to pour out.
We all need God, but we also need one another. Understanding how critical the knowledge we have received from others has been to our walk should make us want to bring that gift and lay it at the feet of our brothers and sisters who also need it desperately. Fulfilling this mission will warm their hearts, our hearts, and the heart of the Father. Beyond encouraging the object of our edification, there will be others who see this good work and also are lifted up. God wants us not only to take advantage of these opportunities when they arise but to seek them out. He wants our hearts to be inclined to the edification of the Church and all its members because we never grow just for ourselves but always for the body. Father, increase in us the desire to encourage our brothers and sisters through your word, that we would pay forward the spiritual edification we have received.