Encourage One Another

Scripture: Romans 1:11-12, ‘I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.’

 

Observations: Paul starts his letter to the Church in Roman by expressing his desire to see them, And the reason he wants to see them is so that he ‘may impart to them some spiritual gift to make them strong.’ This is the only time where the word ‘spiritual’ and ‘gift’ appear in the same sentence in Greek. Every other time only one appears while the other is implied (usually Paul talks about ‘spiritual things’). The gift that Paul is talking about is not what we usually refer to as ‘spiritual gifts,’ rather it is anything that will encourage them spiritually. Usually Paul does this through his preaching, but he also does it just be being with them and being an example to them. The interesting thing is that in the process of imparting spiritual encouragement, Paul is also encouraged in his faith. He says ‘that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.’ The phrase ‘mutually encouraged’ in Greek is symparakaleō, which is only used here in this verse. The word parakaleō is the usual word for ‘encouragement,’ it means to call beside, and refers to someone who walks beside you. The preposition ‘sym’ means ‘together.’ Paul’s point is that in being together we encourage one another.

 

Application: In what ways are you doing life together with other people, particularly your brothers and sisters in Christ? Just by being there for other people is a way to strengthen them and encourage them in their faith. There is nothing more important then letting people know that they are not alone in their pain or difficulties. Not only is God always with us, but God is particularly with us through the ministry and love of his people. And the amazing thing is that as we encourage others we too are encouraged. There is nothing more rewarding and satisfying than a biblically functioning church community. What part are you playing in such a community?

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You have made me a part of Your new covenant community, the Church. And You have placed me in my particular local church so that I can encourage Your people and be encouraged by them. Lord, fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I might be able to impart some spiritual gift to strengthen someone else today. Lord, may my words, and my attitudes, and my behaviour build others up and encourage them in their faith, for Your glory and honour. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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