The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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          Anyone who has been involved in constructing a house or building is probably familiar with rebar. Short for “reinforced bar,” rebar is used to reinforce and strengthen the concrete used in foundations, footings, columns, driveways, bridges, and in many other applications.
          Even as rebar is an essential material for reinforcing and adding strength to concrete, Christians can begin “getting along” with others and improve relations by Reinforcing Fellow Christians. Paul wrote “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food” (Romans 14:19-20a). Paul also instructed the church at Rome with “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up” (Romans 15:2).  Why? Because we are all in this together as “co-laborers with God…God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9).
          Edifying God’s building is expressed as building and strengthening Christ’s body, the church. The Christian strong in his or her faith may work to edify or to demolish God’s building. Reinforcing or edifying fellow Christians is accomplished through Loving Relationships inasmuch as “…love builds up”
(1 Cor. 8:1). Loving relationships seek to embrace the positives (1 Cor. 13:1-3, 13) and erase the negatives. Rather than reinforcing and building up a fellow believer…a brother or sister in Christ, a lack of love on the part of Christians strong in their faith may hamper spiritual growth in others. The adage “Love is blind” is not correct. Why? Because love sees more, not less. Yet, because love sees more, love is willing to see less.
          Reinforcing other Christians also is accomplished through Leaning Relationships. Fifty years ago, Bill Withers sang “Lean on me, when you’re not strong and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on. You just call on me brother, when you need a hand. We all need somebody to lean on.” Christians…the body of Christ…the church grows together, not apart, in a leaning relationship. The term “synergy” (the whole is greater than the sum of the parts) is appropriate to describe the value and strength of leaning Christian relationships as the weak are made strong and the strong are strengthened.
          In addition to loving relationships and leaning relationships, reinforcement of other Christians also results from Learning Relationships. New believers, having committed their lives to Jesus Christ and still young in their faith, need to receive “teaching…(that is)…everything whatsoever (Jesus) commanded”
from mature Christians who are strong in their faith. A disciple is a follower and a learner. Are you a good leader? Are you a good teacher?
         Even as refraining from criticism is fundamental for winning the battle for purity in the area of relation- ships among believers, reinforcing fellow Christians likewise is a foundation element in the area of purity in relationship. To the Roman Christians, Paul declared “I long to see you so that…I may make you strong…that you and I may be mutually encouraged (reinforced) by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:11-12). Such reinforcement can be initiated and accomplished by “encouraging one another and building others up even as you are now doing” (while promoting) “…a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 & Romans 15:5b-6.)  


Dear Heavenly Father, May I seek opportunities to encourage fellow believers in their faith. May my encouragement serve to strengthen and reinforce others as they walk daily with and live for their Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.