What Builds You Up?

Builders build buildings. There are several stages to building. There is digging footers, pouring on foundation, putting up walls, and putting on a roof. There are all kinds of special tradesmen involved. They all play a role in the building. But what about building people? What does it take to build a person? 

We all have a foundation to our building. The Bible says that God shaped us before we were in our mother’s womb. We all grow physically, but today we are focused on a different kind of growth. This growth is related to our heart (spirit, mind, will, and emotions). The Bible tells us that out of the heart flow the issues of life. The heart can love or hate, be honest or be deceitful, build up or tear down.  

The heart can be nurtured by many sources. Today we focus on words. Have you noticed that someone can say something and you feel great, or someone can say something and you feel down or discouraged? 

The Bible teaches us to speak words that build up one another (Eph 4:15). Many years ago, I read a little booklet by Clyde Narramore called Building Bridges to Other People. Some key points were:

  1. Focus on the interests of others- Col 3:5 “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.”
  2. Capitalize on others strengths- Do you know the strengths of your family and friends? Compliment them.
  3. Courtesies- Good manners, thoughtfulness, kindness, and respect are invaluable in relationships.
  4. Know the difference in helping and robbing someone of their contribution. A friend of mine is a tutor. She walks that fine line between helping a student study or doing the work for them.
  5. Gratitude & Appreciation- A wise teacher in LA shared one of her secrets “I believe so much in compliments and encouragement that I start each day with a list of class members on my desk. Throughout the day I put a check by their name after I have complimented them. I make it a point to not permit any child to go home in the afternoon unless he has been complimented at least once that day.” No wonder she was a great teacher!

The habit of building up others can be cultivated. John Maxwell calls encouragement the oxygen of the soul. It needs to be:

  1. Specific- “Great job cleaning your room,” not “You are helpful.”
  2. Personal- about their character being demonstrated. “You were kind to let that lady go in front of you.”
  3. Public- In front of others in the family or work environment.
  4. Detailed- “I noticed you picked up all your toys, made your bed, and wiped off your furniture, great job!”
  5. Hopeful- “I am excited about such a clean house!”
  6. Sincere – “I feel supported when we all help like you did.”
  7. Centered on results- “We are free to have fun now that the house is clean!”

Do you have people in your life who encourage you?  Thank them today.  Who can you build up today? Take time to reach out in a caring way to them.  Most of all let the Lord encourage you through His Word.

Eph. 4:29 reminds us to don’t use foul or abusive language.  Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.


Crabb, L. (2013). Encouragement by Dr. Larry Crabb. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Maxwell, J. (1998). The Leadership Bible . Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Company.

Narromore, C. (1970). How to Build Bridges to Other People . Oliphants.