Building Others Up
2Cor. 12:19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves before you? We are speaking in Christ before God. Everything we do, beloved, is for the sake of building you up.
Paul’s concern was not for himself, but for these whom he had led to Christ. There were others who had come around and were very charismatic and persuasive with their speech. They were influencing the people and by their very “super apostle” status, drawing people away from Christ. Sometimes Paul came across as being a bit hard on the Corinthians as he wanted them to be a discerning people. He wanted them to know without a doubt that his concern was not about building himself up or defending himself before them. Instead, everything that he was doing was for their good. He wanted to make sure that they were built up.
He feared that if they listened to the voices of these others there would be great dissension among the people of God. He goes on to describe what he might find:
20 For I fear that when I come, I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish; I fear that there may perhaps be quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.
So that this will not occur, Paul continues to point the Corinthians toward Christ. Everything that he does, even when it is misunderstood, comes from a heart and motivation of building others up. He does not tear them down, but points them again and again in the direction of knowing Christ — and the power of his resurrection! This is building up.
How easy it is to tear people down when we ourselves feel threatened. What would happen if we took Paul’s approach of doing everything to build others up. He is personally humbled by his situation and is willing to be the servant of these, if only it will build them up. His passion is for the Corinthian church to be a healthy group of individuals who wholeheartedly love God. He wants to point them in that direction.
Distractions in life keep us from building one another up. We can forget about the goal - of building others up to become more like Christ! Instead, we become pretty good at tearing one another down. Let’s stop and think about the end goal when that begins to happen. Christ is not lifted up. The bride of Christ is sullied. And there are wounded individuals both as the result of direct hits and collateral damage.
I feel challenged by Paul’s words today. What if we faced every day with the challenge of building others up and pointing them in the direction of Christ? Every person that we meet, every encounter along the way, viewed as a divine encounter of building others up.
Paul said that everything he did for his beloved, was to build them up.
Lord, may my life be one of building others up both today and always. Amen.