Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Problem with our Interactions with Others:

1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…”

God has really been challenging me in how I deal with others.  I would have to say that this verse, tucked away in the book of Thessalonians is the theme of the challenge that has been placed on my heart throughout this year. 

Another translation of this verse calls us to “edify” one another.  What a strong word.  Every interaction we are to have with others is meant to be an avenue of growth, encouragement, and lifting each other up.  I don’t know about you, but that hardly describes every interaction I take part in. 

Last year we invited a young couple that we had recently met to our home for a dinner party with some friends.  Although I don’t remember all the details of what we spoke about, I remember sharing stories of God at work in each of our lives.  At the end of the night, the couple that we had just recently met asked if they could pray for us before they left- and we spent the rest of the evening praying and encouraging each other.

When they left that night, even with the dishes still in the sink, and the mess waiting to be cleaned- more than anything I remember feeling edified.  I felt so uplifted and encouraged.  And I remember thinking, “what if all my interactions with others left them feeling this way?”  I wondered why that type of edification was not present in many of my relationships with others…even with believers. 

The reality is, it takes effort to have a life that is lived to build others up.  It takes a deliberate attitude of humility to put them and their needs first.  And frankly, it takes practice.  It’s not a natural human condition to edify others and to build them up.  Our muscles are conditioned for self-gratification.  It takes an exertion of our minds and an extension of our hearts in order to live a life that brings others one step closer to the love of God through their interaction with our love.  But at the end of the day, more than anything, that is what this type of interaction is purposed to do: bring us one step closer to His love. 

Look around and see, this world is filled with too much of the opposite. And unfortunately, our churches have also fallen prey to the antithesis.  Criticism, condemnation, complaining, and ingratitude poison our communities, seep into our interpersonal relationships, and our take hold of our pews.  It’s time we begin to take an active approach.  For that is our only hope. 

I want to live a life that edifies others, more than anything else.  I want to leave their presence with the complete assurance that they felt loved.  I want to look for ways to encourage those around me.  I want to let them know that they are truly appreciated and respected.  I want to be more deliberate in loving this kind of way, and in doing so, deliver to them a fraction of the relentless love of God that is always there to build, uplift, and edify. 

Will you join me? 


  1. hey, thanks for posting this. i really liked it and it's something good to think about. and i like that word - edify. thanks!

  2. Thanks for your thoughts! It is a good word, isn't it? :) Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Deb, If it helps you, I have always left hanging out with you inspired to do better. You are such an awesome girl and you are such a reflection of Christ, it is hard not to have that fire get flamed in ones soul after spending time with you. Thanks for the post! I really liked it.

  4. Your thoughts on "edification" remind me of grace. What a wonderful gift to give others!

  5. Ashley, honestly you are too sweet. I really appreciate the encouragement, I am honored to be used in that way in your life :) Thanks for the's nice to know people are out here reading every now and again!

    FCEtier, you're right it somehow always comes back to grace, doesn't it, haha...thanks for your comment!

  6. Wow, I am eight months behind this post and as with God all things are timeless... As a result of a fractured relationship God has led to a place of rest and healing. His healing has also come with some chastising of the best kind. As a part of that He was speaking to me today that my words are to be "uplifting, building up and edifying". This is a significant contrast to my words and behavior just a few weeks ago. Pride and Self-gratification were leading me on then. My study through the scriptures of course led me to I Thessalonians 5:11. Further research online lead me here to your blog. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  7. PKB, I am so glad you stumbled upon this blog. It's stories like yours that encourage me and give me the motivation and strength to keep on writing. Thank you for being so real and sharing your heart and your journey. My prayer is that God continues to strengthen you and stretch you in this area and in others...and lead you into deepened intimacy with Him. Thank you so much for visiting. God bless.


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