Do you need encouragement? Encouragement is such an important and vital part of what we do for each other in Christian community. Even the apostle Paul needed regular doses of being strengthened by the encouragement of others. In a number of places in his letters he talks about how he was refreshed and encouraged in the presence of other believers.
I've been spending some time taking a few verses of Romans in the morning and meditating on those verses. Romans is a powerful and theologically weighty letter. In it though we get glimpses into the heart of Paul and his love for God's people. In the beginning of the letter Paul is giving his reason why he is writing to these Roman Christians. In chapter 1, verse 11, he says, "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."
Paul has not yet been to Rome but his heart longs to go, in part because he desires to see his brothers and sisters there and to bring encouragement to them and to be encouraged by them. He longs to see them so that he might strengthen them through encouragement and be strengthened by them through their encouragement.
Isn't this a beautiful picture of Christian community? The longing to see one another, to use the gifts God has given us to strengthen and encourage each other, to build each other up in love. And we strengthen and encourage each other through our words, our prayers, our presence. Your presence matters. Your words spoken to another matter. Your prayers for others matter.
So this week what are ways that you might be able to strengthen a brother or sister through your encouragement? What are ways that you can seek encouragement from another so that you might be spiritually strengthened? My prayer for us is that when we gather together we come with this longing to see each other so that we might build each other up through our encouragement and love.
Blessings to you,