What Do We Edify?
What we edify through our liberty can bring us down one of two roads: narrow or wide. The more limited the path, the more it leads us closer to knowing the truth about the world, our part in it while we are alive, and how to operate in our trials and triumphs. However, the wide path can pull us into accepting falsehoods, leaving us wandering in confusion about our existence, thereby leaving us unaware of the reality of our choices and the consequences. The good news is there is a way to navigate the paths of liberty, bringing us into knowledge and understanding of the smaller path. Those instructions are also freely given. The duality of liberty comes with the constant choice between right and wrong, and by whose definition we choose to define that freedom: the world’s definition or God’s. This dichotomy is the duel state of liberty. When we set our minds to believe something, the duel begins, and we will either live by faith, listen, and obey that conviction no matter what, or be willing to question our understanding in search of truth.
What Is Liberty?
Liberty is freedom. At its core, liberty is a condition of being completely open and free from any restrictions or anyone’s or anything’s control within its set boundaries. It’s a situation where one can act any way they choose and believe anything. For example, someone in prison can be given the liberty to do certain things within the building they live in but are still bound to their overall restriction from society. They may eventually become liberated, released after serving their time, and given the freedom to do as they choose again.
Liberty can also be abused. When someone overreaches or steps outside of the social acceptance of a thing, taking “liberties” that are known to lead to either harm or destruction, those freedoms, when breached, break down the framework of that socially accepted idea. Case in point, people have the liberty to drink alcohol, but drunk driving leads to destruction. And like a drunk driver who has been incarcerated and returned to society, they can live from this experience in a new way or stay in old habits that will lead back to destruction. This scenario applies to everyone and everything we choose to do with our version of liberty.
What Is Edify?
Edify can mean tutor, education, and indoctrination, but in the Biblical sense, it also means to build, establish and use instructions to improve intellect and morality. Edify is the root word of edifice, an architectural structure, but it can also refer to building a school of thought. An architect is the “chief builder” of whatever is being constructed.
When people edify something, they use what has been passed down their bloodline, what they have been taught and experienced, and what they choose to learn to build their reality. To edify is to establish and develop through instructions. We get to decide if it is for a moral or immoral life, and by living prudently or not, the results will be made known. First, they are usually made known privately, but if these beliefs are challenged and remain, they will manifest publicly.
What happens when the information we have been given is veiled, twisted, or intentionally modified along the path, and what one chooses to edify based on these things takes them down a road which leads to beliefs that are not socially considered moral and breach the freedoms offered to them? Again, whose definition a person uses for what is acceptable, the world’s definition or God’s, makes the difference in the answer. The “chief builder” of the person will be the deciding factor on who they edify.
How To Look At And Be A Doer of the Work, Not Maliciously, But Unto God
How could freedom ever be malicious? There are endless ways it can, especially if those offering “free” do so to deceive or enslave a person or a nation. Sometimes false freedom, so well disguised, will fool even the wisest and most knowledgable people. False freedom can also be achieved through fear and manipulations, playing solely on human behavior. Specifics on this subject would be futile because the world, being set against those things above, actually believes it can win and has endless means of manipulation.
There is a way to override malicious freedoms, but it requires us to be willing to walk that narrow path. This road is easy to explain, but it is sometimes difficult for our minds to understand. Again, the “chief builder” you choose comes into play. The narrow path is traveled and maintained by building, learning, and relying on God’s instructions. To be a doer of the work is to give our education, our edifying over to the Word of God, Jesus Christ, and allow the Holy Spirit to train us. The wide path of the world, with all its shiny objects, empty promises, and quick fixes, will never edify its Creator. It thinks it will win because it has been given over to its desire to be worshipped as if it were the ‘one true god.’ Only the God of Truth can have that title. (Sorry, Aquaman.)
The Consequence of Being Overcome By Liberty And Coming Into Bondage
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is documented in the Bible, and with the Bible being the most-sold book in the world (around 5 billion), it is safe to say, very publicly known. His words contain all the instructions necessary for us to understand the narrow path which leads to a personal relationship with Him and the Holy Spirit. But what happens when a person or a nation is overcome by the very liberty they have been given? 2 Peter is a place to look for that answer. In chapter one, Simon Peter tells us to look for the truth about Christ in the testimonies of the Apostles and their eyewitness accounts, as well as the testimonies of the Father and the prophets. Simon Peter says this, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:3-4 KJV). This lust found in the world is a longing, a strong desire for what is forbidden.
We are given the very greatest and most precious promises. Peter lists some essential things that, if found to abound in us, “they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8 KJV). We are to add to our faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity. But, if any are lacking these things, they are blind and have forgotten that they have been purged from their past sins. Edifying faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity keeps us on the narrow path void of laziness, and we yield what we ought to yield.
In chapter two, Peter warns of the false prophets and teachers, who are not moved by the Holy Spirit for their interpretations and knowledge but “privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1 KJV). Many will follow them on this wide road, coming into bondage and punishment as they use false reasoning and extortion to make merchandise of those choosing to edify them. These teachers and false prophets will be trading their mesmerized devotees for their own gain. Even though they promise liberty, they are servants of destruction.
Peter uses Lot, Abraham’s nephew, as an example of the godly: those revering God, respecting and edifying Him. Yes, Lot was in the city and did horrible things, but he knew where his deliverance came from. He was vexed in Sodom and Gomorrah’s broad path, yet his soul was righteous. He was in the world but not of the world. The Lord knows how to rescue the godly, those edifying Him, out of the world’s temptations and its wide path. What an exceedingly great and most precious promise! However, in Genesis 19:17-26 Lot’s wife did not move forward with this knowledge. She looked back when she was expressly told not to, and was turned into a pillar of salt.
Discipline Is Key
“As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believe on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”John 8:30-32 (KJV)
The law of liberty requires discipline. That discipline, whether defined as a method of gaining obedience to a chosen authority, “the chief architect,” or as a specific branch of knowledge, means there are works to be done. Faith alone has no proof in it. It takes faith cooperating with our works to accomplish righteousness.
For example, Abraham heard God, but his faith was made perfect when he offered up Isaac for sacrifice. And Rahab, the harlot, was justified by being hospitable, sending the messengers out a different way, and avoiding detection. Both of these situations would have been extremely uncomfortable for anyone. However, Abraham and Rahab knew the great promises of God, had faith in them, and chose the righteous path over fear.
The law of liberty found in the world goes something like this: what the world has faith in, it does the work to complete it. The evil spirits also believe but do not have works edifying God. And their works illuminate what they believe to be the truth.
The duel state of liberty requires we not only choose our discipline and our mode of operation wisely but that we simultaneously discipline our mind to follow God’s word if we are to edify Him and be a testimony of His goodness. We are to become disciples of His Word. Once we recognize this key process to accessing the narrow road, it becomes a new way of occupying this world. One where His glory is more important to us than our own comfort or the fear of any man.
The duel state of liberty can be seen all around us today. The expansive road before us keeps increasing its boundaries as the world accepts the craftiness of its god. It may feel as if the darkness is about to envelop those choosing the narrow path by what is seen and heard daily. Still, the duel is not over, and we must continue to seek the truth. We must be aware that we have been given the liberty to do all things but not all things edify righteousness. We are to edify one another (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11), seek to edify the church with spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:5, 12), edify the body of Christ increasing in love (Ephesians 4:12,16), and pursue edifying so it may minister grace (Ephesians 4:29). And, we are to neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith. (See 1 Timothy 1:3)
True freedom can be found on the narrow path. This is the place where mercy, grace, and liberty walk. This is where faith and works cooperate. This is where provision and protection reside. This is where the light of truth abounds; even with a single candle’s flame, the darkness must flee. This is the road that leads to the house of the Lord.
Feature Image: Bigstock.com | Scripture quotations are taken from the KING JAMES VERSION of the Bible.