Edification- A Positive Force in Spiritual Warfare

Written by Samuel Lawrence
Read Ephesians 6:10-18

In Ephesians 6:12 we read that “…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” As believers and Christ followers, we are engaged in a spiritual war, whether we like it or not. Just as in the terror attacks on American soil on 9-1-2001, the enemy brought the war to us on our American soil. So the Devil and his minions also bring spiritual attacks upon the elect. If you are not facing any such attacks, or never have, you might seriously consider whether you are indeed a child of the Kingdom. For Paul makes it clear in Ephesians 6:12 that the battle rages on.

Paul leads into verse 12 by telling us to get in defensive mode and put on “the whole armor of God” Ephesians 6:10-11 says “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” He expounds upon that defensive gear in Ephesians 6:13-18“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” Most of these verses advocate a defensive posture. Paul finally touches on taking the offensive when he speaks of having proper shoes to advance the Gospel, taking up the weapon of choice: the sword of the Spirit, aka the Bible, Gods holy inerrant word. Then he adds another powerful offensive weapon: Prayer.

Yet, another valuable weapon in spiritual warfare can be found in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (KJV) “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” Edification is a powerful tool in the arsonal of spiritual warfare. Whereas armor protects and the sword cuts away through the sinful lifestyle and faith and prayer is more powerful than “the Force” in Star Wars, edification builds up and rejuvinates and energizes the army of God. The merriam-webster.com online dictionary describes this transitive verb as “archaic.” It defines edify as to “build” or to “establish.” The online dictionary also lists this definition “to instruct and improve especially in moral and religious knowledge, to uplift; to enlighten, or to inform.” The biblical meaning is “to build up” or “to encourage.”

It is sad to say that in many Christian churches today , the concept and practice of edification is not stressed or practiced enough. Too many Christians engage in the opposite of edification: slander, gossip, backbiting, and criticising. These tear down rather than build up the church.   Kenneth Blanchard helped author a great book that presents a compelling illustration of the power of edification. The book is entitled “Whale Done! : The Power of Positive Relationships.” The following is the book description from Amazon.com…

“What do your people at work and your spouse and kids at home have in common with a five-ton killer whale? Probably a whole lot more than you think, according to top business consultant and mega-bestselling author Ken Blanchard and his coauthors from SeaWorld. In this moving and inspirational new book, Blanchard explains that both whales and people perform better when you accentuate the positive. He shows how using the techniques of animal trainers — specifically those responsible for the killer whales of SeaWorld — can supercharge your effectiveness at work and at home.

When gruff business manager and family man Wes Kingsley visited SeaWorld, he marveled at the ability of the trainers to get these huge killer whales, among the most feared predators in the ocean, to perform amazing acrobatic leaps and dives. Later, talking to the chief trainer, he learned their techniques of building trust, accentuating the positive, and redirecting negative behavior — all of which make these extraordinary performances possible. Kingsley took a hard look at his own often accusatory management style and recognized how some of his shortcomings as a manager, spouse, and father actually diminish trust and damage relationships. He began to see the difference between “GOTcha” (catching people doing things wrong) and “Whale Done!” (catching people doing things right).

In Whale Done!, Ken Blanchard shows how to make accentuating the positive and redirecting the negative the best tools to increase productivity, instead of creating situations that demoralize people. These techniques are remarkably easy to master and can be applied equally well at home, allowing readers to become better parents and more committed spouses in their happier and more successful personal lives.

Ken Blanchard has merely taken the biblical concept of edification and illustrated in a powerful way exactly how this tool can be a weapon in the your arsenol to fight spiritual warefare. I know in my own life, I have faced many spiritual trials. I am facing several now.  A really big one is the imminent loss of my day job at a nuclear plant the end of this month. This job is what puts food on the table, pays our mortgage, buys clothing and pays medical bills, buys gifts, donations and is the primary sole financial support for me, my wife and our 5 kids.   Just six days after Christmas this primary income ceases.

As soon as I learned that I had a definite and firm end date, I began very diligently seeking other employment. The searching has been very slow and thus far fruitless. I began to succumb to fear and depression began to set in and a feeling of hopelessness swept over me.  I thought of my little kids rushing downstairs on Christmas morning to find an empty tree where Santa Claus forgot to stop the night before.  But with my wife’s eternal positive spirit and encouragement, I began to have some renewed hope, borne on her faith.

So, I then put out a clarion call to my other brothers and sisters in Christ for prayer through my church and through online social media. I began to receive more and more positive affirmations and promises of prayer support. Some have even put legs on their prayers and asked me for my resume and are passing it along to their colleagues. My fear has now vanished, replaced with optimism. My heavy cloud of despair and depression has begun to dissipate. Hope has returned. All that because of the edification given me by my precious wife and others.

I think it is time we brought that “archaic” word back into “prime time” usage in the church. It needs to move from Facebook back to houses of worship and be preached from pulpits from the Goodbook.. the Bible.

I want to leave you with some biblical insights into the “archaic” practice of edification.  The concept and practice of edification is described in more detail in Ephesians 4:12-16 “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

  • Edification is the Object of the Ministerial Office-
    • Ephesians 4:11-12And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”
  • Edification is the Object of Ministerial Gifts-
    • 1 Corinthians 14:3-5 “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.”
    • 1 Corinthians 14:12 “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.”
  • Edification is the Object of Ministerial Authority-
    • 2 Corinthians 10:8 “For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed”
    • 2 Corinthians 13:10 “Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.
  • Edification is the Object of the Church’s union in Christ-
    • Ephesians 4:16 “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
  • Edification is the Object of the gospel, the instrument of-
    • Acts 20:32 “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
  • Love leads to Edification-
    • 1 Corinthians 8:1 “Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.”
  • Exhortation to Edification-
    • Jude 1:20-21 “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
  • Edification is Mutual & commanded-
    • Romans 14:19 “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
    • 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
  • All to be done to Edification-
    • 2 Corinthians 12:19 “Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.”
    • Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
  • Use self-denial to promote Edification in others-
    • 1 Corinthians 10:23 “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”
    • 1 Corinthians 10:33 “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”
  • The peace of the Church favors Edification-
    • Acts 9:31 “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”
  • Foolish questions are opposed to Edification-
    • 1 Timothy 1:4 “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.”