Read: Romans 1: 11-12
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.
Over the weekend I spent some time cleaning out some old emails and came across some correspondence from a friend who, at the time, encouraged and challenged me in matters of faith. We didn’t always agree, but I appreciated the challenge even as we have shared in some difficult experiences.
In his letters, Paul often speaks of his prayer and thankfulness for others. In verse twelve he writes of the mutual strength and encouragement he both offers and longs to receive from the believers in Rome. Paul was not looking forward to just talking about the Bengals or politics or the weather although he had plenty of experiences with the weather and loved sports. He was looking for something deeper in his interactions with the Romans. I imagine he had something like the Proverb below in mind –
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
Think about your personal relationships. Do you have a friend you look forward to seeing who goes beyond a surface relationship? How does it make you feel to think that there is someone who is willing to both challenge and encourage at a deeper level so that you and the other are “mutually encouraged?”