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.
Here we have Paul, arguably one of the strongest Christians and missionaries this world has ever seen, admitting that he needs help. He not only is writing to the Romans of his desire to come and teach them, but also of his desire to come and be encouraged by them as well. This passage provides much encouragement to me in my life. I have always struggled with the idea that I have to do things on my own. I know that I can’t do things without God and others, but I constantly seem to slip into the mindset of “I can do it myself”. And that’s just not the case. If Paul couldn’t do it on his own, what makes me think that I ever have a chance of doing it on my own.
There is a growing trend that I have seen in this world of people thinking they can have a real relationship with God, but never darken the doors of a church. Again, how could this ever work? And trust me, this is not just coming from this one passage. I have personally lived that lifestyle. At one point in my life, I tried to do my relationship with God strictly on my own. I got discouraged with church because I lost sight of the real meaning of church…Community. And it didn’t work. I was very irregular in my attendance to church for about 2 years, maybe a little more. And let me tell you, it has taken at least double that amount of time to get back to where I was before I started trying to do it on my own. The community or fellowship found in the church is vital to our lives as Christians. And Paul seems to agree. We mutually encourage one another by our faith. So stop trying to do it on your own, and I’ll continue to stop trying to do it on my own, and let’s work to encourage one another on this journey. If Paul needed other Christians, I think it’s pretty clear that so do we.