Our growth in grace can be explosive if we’re willing to work at true edification. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:29-30, NKJV). 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 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 their devotion to Christ or the intensity of their prayers. It is 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. Christ warned his listeners, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matthew 12:34-35).
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.
Dear believer, let us grow up in grace.