I’ve been studying mutual edification for several years now. My friends and I have sought to build up (edify) one another whenever we’re together. A few days ago, I saw a description of “mutual edification” that perfectly explains what it’s all about.
In his post, he comments on Hebrews 10:24-25 (one of my own favorite passages in Scripture referring to mutual edification). At one point, Nathan writes this about the 2nd half of Hebrews 10:24:
The second part of the verse reveals that we need to consider our brothers and sisters in a way that will allow us to stir them up towards love and good works. This shows us some of the purposes behind mutual edification. We mutually edify one another so that we may all grow in love and good deeds. Love and good works were a signature of the life and ministry of Christ. So mutual edification brings out the Christ in one another.
When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Of course, the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ) is the good within us. We only love by the Spirit. So, any “love and good works” that are “stirred up” by us are actually the work of the Spirit. Our goal, then, is to help people follow the guidance of the Spirit who is already indwelling them and leading them. (Of course, this is very similar to what I talked about in my series last week on the topic “Defining discipleship as helping each other follow Jesus.”)
This also helps us understand why the author of Hebrews puts so much emphasis on “encouragement” throughout this letter, using the noun or verb form several times. He understand that as we understand each other, we are “stirring up” or arousing a desire within each follower of Jesus Christ to yield to that indwelling Spirit.
We don’t have to create “love and good works” for people. We don’t have to tell them what to do or say or believe. The Spirit of Jesus within them is already telling them everything they need to know.
So, what do we do to “stir up love and good works”? We consider how we can encourage them to listen to and obey what Jesus is already telling them. As we all listen to and obey what Jesus is telling us, we will mutually edify one another.
And, as Nathan says, as we mutually edify one another, it brings out the Christ in each of us.