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Friday, October 28, 2011

Being Built Up

And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman ... So when the Samaritans had come to Him ... many more believed because of His own word.
~ John 4:39-41 (NKJV)

With highly educated Jews, Jesus experienced conflict and rejection. He receives a warmer reception among Jewish common people (Mark 12:37). And when He comes to the Samaritans, who generally had even less knowledge of spiritual and religious matters than Jews, they accepted Jesus and His Gospel at once.

We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up ...
~ 1 Corinthians 8:1 (NKJV)

When one of my family members went through a "trying on Christianity" phase, he quoted the above verse and told me that he didn't read the Bible, because people who know the Bible are filled with pride. (He's now a committed Wiccan.)

Since any one of us might be inclined to take pride in our knowledge—and plenty of education (like plenty of money) can be a stumbling block to faith—can an argument be made for maintaining a certain level of ignorance?

By no means! The Bible encourages us to obtain knowledge. Here's how that verse from Corinthians continues:

We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.
~ 1 Corinthians 8:1 (NKJV)

We might know our Bible and our theology and everything related inside out. But if our motive is to build ourselves up, either in our own eyes or the eyes of someone else (including God), we achieve the opposite spiritually.

On the other hand, if our motive in obtaining knowledge is to know God and become more Christlike—if we are motivated by love—the result for ourselves and others is edification, which means "being built up."

An interesting irony in experiencing the power of love.

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Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. Unfortunately, and all to often, I believe that our motives are to build ourselves up instead of Christ, though most of us wouldn't admit it. We say we always want to point others to Christ but that isn't always completely true, at least not for me. I truly wish I could get away from any and all of my horrible and selfish motives to edify myself instead Our Lord Jesus.

  2. It's such a fine line between building ourselves up in pride and truly being edified, while edifying others and exalting God in the process. I wonder if we ever really break free from that.

    Even love isn't usually agape. We love because we want to be loved in return, instead of simply pouring out the Father's love we've received, without thought of what might be returned. I sometimes cry out to God that this life is just too hard! How can we be like His Son when we're trapped inside these bodies of pride, fear, and lust (for all kinds of things).

    Whatever good we are is truly a work of His Holy Spirit, for which He HAS to get all the glory! "I know that in me nothing good dwells."

  3. I was thinking exactly the same as your comment, "I wonder if we ever really break free from that." Sadly, I don't think we actually do. We so desire to be patted on the back and admired by others for our smart comments, snappy comebacks, our writing, our encouragement to others, our scripture memorization, our beautiful prayers. The more I think about it, the more I think that there is no end to this list. But if only I could...


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