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Building Up The Body

Most human beings are very "body conscious." That is, we care how our bodies look and feel and. even how they smell! One person observed, "If your feet smell and your nose runs, you're built upside down." Because we care about our bodies (and how they look to others) we splash and spray and rub stuff on them to the tune of billions of dollars per year. We exercise and hike and bike and swim and diet because we are, for one reason or another, concerned about our bodies. If the amount of money, time, attention, and energy we spend to make our bodies look and feel and perform better is any indication, some of us are obsessed with our bodies. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes and colors, and some people come to feel so badly about their bodies they attempt to augment and alter and make them over. These attempts at body-makeovers range from the mild to the extreme. The truth is a certain degree of body consciousness and concern is not only normal but good. A healthy level of concern hopefully motivates us to follow habits and patterns which not only help our bodies look and smell and feel better, but actually help them be better! Attempts to self-mutilate and harm the body are not normal or healthy.

Like the human body, the body of Christ also needs some building up. That body, of course, is the church (see Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 5:25ff; Colossians 1:18, 24b). Scripture shows great concern that Christians, as members of Christ's body, take care to consciously build up the church. Take, for example, Ephesians 4:12,16 — for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ ....from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." We obviously don't have space to examine the background or details of these verses. But in context or simply standing on their own they inform us that Christians ought to be concerned to build up, not tear down, the body of Christ which is, of course, the church! The Greek word which is translated "edify" is actually a construction word (oikodome pronounced oy-kod-om-ay') and according to Strongs' Concordance has to do with architecture or building. Like a carpenter nailing boards and planks and using other materials to build and strengthen a house, Christians are to build up the church through their attitudes and actions and words! In the context of the verses noted above, the apostle Paul twice mentions love. God-like love is the is t that binds and holds members of the body together in spite of a diversity of backgrounds and opinions and tastes and preferences, etc. Good questions for every child of God to ask themselves include these: -Do the things I say to others build up the church? Do the things my children hear me saying about the church's other members and about thepreachers and elders make them think I love the church Jesus died for? Or do my words and attitudes and treatment of the church reduce and tear her down in other people's minds?" Regarding the church Jesus died to save,
we all need to be body builders. Are you building up the body of Christ, or tearing it down?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ