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God Don’t Tear You Down, He Build You Up

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One of my favorite movies, “My Fair Lady,” stars Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn. Harrison plays professor Henry Higgins a master linguist and authority on world languages. Higgins attempts to help Hepburn’s character Elisa Doolittle, to “talk proper.” Like Higgins, languages, dialects, derivatives, prefixes, latin, puns,synonyms, antonyms, spelling and regional accents all intrigue me. I would probably play MadGab every day if anyone was willing to play with me. Yet, there is a dark side to my obsession with words. I know it’s odd, but I love it when words are mispronounced or misspelled. I once passed a Piggly Wiggly with a sign that said, “Now Hiring,” with, “Boston Butt,” just below it. Things like this send me over the edge in laughter. Misprinted church signs and bulletins are always good for a laugh. Like the sign that a church in my hometown had on the side of its van-“Believer’s Fellowship- A Work Jesus Doing In the Spirit.” Even the thought of these things still make me chuckle. One of the funniest signs was actually found by my husband. He was on his way home from dropping off our babysitter when he called me laughing hysterically. He’d seen a sign in front of a church that he thought I would find interesting. I can imagine that as he drove home through the dark and windy back roads in that town, a shining sign in front of a church in the distance was coming into view. It may have seemed that his trip was symbolic of the journey of a sinner who lived in the dark, finding the light of hope. But the sacred scene was erased when he let out a howl of laughter as he reached the simple and odd cinder blocked church. The glowing sign read , “God Don’t Tear You Down, He Build You Up.”

We still laugh when we think about that sign but its idea is true. In fact the same truth is found in the book of Jude. Jude writes in chapter one verses 17-21:

“But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”

In beginning of the book in verse 3, Jude came straight to the point and gave his purpose for writing. He warned the church about those around them who would pervert the truth. He reminded them that in the face of heresies, they were to, “Contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints”. Those false teachings were lethal but he gave the church the antidote for the poison of perverted doctrine. The church was to build itself up. Throughout the gospel of Matthew, Jesus reminded his disciples that in the last days, many false prophets would come in the attempt to deceive. Their goal then was the same as it is now, to divide the church and weaken the unity. But there is good news. If the goal of spiritual liars hasn’t changed, neither has the antidote! When Jude used the word “yourselves,” I don’t think that each person was to focus on themselves. Instead they were to think about each other. Building each other up is still the cure for the lies of the Devil. When was the last time you built someone up, by encouraging them? Do you pray for your family and friends with Spirit-led prayers? When we let God lead us in encouraging others, we will stay “in God’s love.”

Even though that church sign was grammatically incorrect, its sentiment was right on. If we hope to be ready to refute the lies of that tear us down, we must be ready to build each other up.


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