For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. (Romans 1:11-12 ESV)
Do you have a friend who you know you can go to coffee with or call on the phone and feel refreshed after the talk? They are good listeners and seem to understand everything you are going through. They don’t condemn you, but lift you up with encouragement.
Paul earnestly desired to visit the church in Rome. There were probably multiple reasons, including: it was his calling/ministry, he wanted to teach them, wanted to see how they were doing, and many more. But, it was also so that he could receive from them. Paul was a man who wrote the majority of New Testament books and he wanted to be encouraged by new Christians in Rome. How awesome!
At times we also need the encouragement of other Christians. He was wanting to spend time with people, to develop relationships with people, and to then be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. These kind of relationships do not happen by attending church services alone, we need to take steps to genuinely get to know one another and discover the faith and spiritual gifts that others have. In this scripture, we can learn from Paul and seek out a group of people to meet with to be encouraged by their faith. As we gain encouragement, we give encouragement. We weren’t called to live the Christian life alone.
Who do you know that you can encourage?