Our growth in grace can be explosive when we attempt to edify those who mortify us.
“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. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:29–30). The root word Paul uses for edify here means “house builder.” That word, in turn, comes from a root word that means “to build up.” In short, everyone who edifies is building up God’s house, the church.
Paul is telling us three important things here about the words we speak:
1. We are to use our words to build up God’s people.
2. We are to use our words to minister grace to others.
3. It is possible to grieve the Holy Spirit with our words.
I get deeply convicted as I read the life stories of some of the spiritual giants of the past. These godly men and women were heavenly minded—studious in God’s Word, praying often, and concerned about growing in grace. What strikes me most about these people’s lives isn’t just their devotion to Christ or the intensity of their prayers. It is also the godly fruit that these things produced in them. Moreover, I discovered a common thread among these spiritual giants: their main concern was to grow in the grace of a pure heart, out of which holy conversation would flow. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34).
I grow in grace when I choose to live for others and not myself. That growth in grace must begin in my home by showing my mate and my children ever-increasing Christlikeness. My home must become a proving ground where all problems, all misunderstandings are overcome by my willingness to give up “my attempts to be always right.”
Never having to be “right” has helped me enjoy the power of God’s grace as never before. All arguments, all so-called “rights” vanish when we seek to edify one another rather than trying to win some silly dispute.
Let us grow up—in grace.