Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Edifice

In Christian circles we commonly hear the phrase 'to edify' or 'to be edified'. It is generally understood that this expression refers to gaining wisdom and knowledge of the things of God. To 'edify' literally means to physically build or construct, derived from 'edifice' which means 'building/structure'. However, most dictionaries include a definition that refers to its spiritual or moral connotations.

When edifying is mentioned in Christian circles, we are generally speaking about preaching or reading the Bible. These mediums are the source of our 'edification'- at least in respect to our knowledge and wisdom.
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" Romans 10:14

The metaphor is that every concept is a brick and our willing mind is the mortar. With every lesson we are building our mansion "
In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. " John 14:2

I submit the idea that knowledge and wisdom are not the only things we need use to edify our spiritual structure. Worship, sacrifice, prayer, and all other aspects of spiritual life can be 'built up' as you grow closer to God. Naturally, humans build up habits, experiences and opinions over time- as opposed to making a quick shift from one extreme to the other over night. Positive change is progressively inched towards- not jumped to.

There is another common expression in Christian circles: backsliding. Many people believe this to refer to completely rejecting what they once accepted as Godly and turning to its antithesis. I (along with most church elders) disagree. If 'edifying' is building up spirituality, then backsliding is the opposite. If you're slowly removing bricks from your edifice or if you simply stop spreading mortar- this is backsliding. You don't have to be back down to your foundation to be guilty of it (make no mistake- i'm talking to myself here).

God isn't so much concerned with the size of your edifice as he is with the status of your construction.

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