Enable. The definition of the English term means “give (someone or something) the authority or means to do something.” The term used frequently in Greek for able is δύναμαι, meaning to be able, have power, whether by virtue of one's own ability and resources, or that given by another. One might have the power, or ability to accomplish something, or one might be given such power, or authority. Typically, one thinks of God as He who enables us, in that our abilities, or authority, or power, proceeds from Him. Paul refers to this in his letter to the Romans; “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ” (16:25). God enables us by the gospel message, the preaching of Jesus Christ, to establish us in faith and in living an obedient faith.

Of course, God enables us only in what is positive, wholesome, what is good and beneficial for us. “And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8). God never enables us to sin, to engage in what is wicked, to be involved in a lifestyle that is contrary to His will. What we should seek power for in our lives, the ability to perform, is that which is good and enables us in living righteously, what builds us up in our faith and makes us stronger spiritually. “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Eph. 6:13).

Of course, one can be enabled to do what is wrong, perhaps by being tempted to sin, or by another making it possible for one to engage in or persist in a sinful lifestyle. We may often hear of someone being an enabler in a negative sense, meaning their actions with others result in persistence for others in doing what is wrong. It may come from not encouraging another in what is right and wholesome, or by actively engaging in actions or speech that allows them to continue in such behavior. For example, we have heard of people enabling others to continue using drugs, meaning to do nothing to help them out of such a destructive habit, or by funding them to continue in it. Not knowing one’s words or actions is contributing to the problem is one thing, but to do it deliberately can have fatal, eternal consequences. Paul spoke of some of the Corinthians, having knowledge regarding to meat sacrificed to idols, knowing there was no such thing as any god, used that liberty to eat. Others, without such knowledge, still struggled regarding this. His summation regarding how we treat each other is this; “But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak…And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ” (1 Cor. 8:9, 12). Even in matters of opinion, never choose that which can lead others into sin, much less that which is patently sinful to begin with.

Paul exhorted the brethren in Galatia, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” (Gal. 6:1). We should help enable each other to live faithfully for God, in the strength that God supplies. We should never enable others, actively or passively, to persist in sin that can condemn one eternally. Our goal should be to help each other seek God’s help, His enabling, to do what is right. May we never be left to answer why we didn’t let others know their course of life was heading them in the wrong direction. May we never, by example, or words, or deed, enable others to be captured by sin. “Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (Jas. 1:21-22).

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice.”

Robert Johnson

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