Public speakers are trained to give a point and a picture. Meaning, say it, and then illustrate it. Today you’ll get the point from Proverbs 27:17 and the picture from Romans 1:8-17. Paul’s love for the church in Rome filled him with a longing to be together with them, but not just for small talk and catching up. Paul wanted to be together so that like iron sharpens iron, they could encourage each other spiritually.
Iron sharpens iron,
So one man sharpens another.
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world. For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you, always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine. I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”
We humans are, unfortunately, quite forgetful. We’re prone to taking credit for God’s blessings. When we encourage each other spiritually, we’re reminded of the source of our blessing. When we’re reminded that we’re not our own providers and protectors, we gain courage and hope to face the battles on the outside and the fear on the inside.
For example, instead of just saying, “I’m so sorry you’re suffering. I can’t even imagine.” Try praying with them too, “God, will You come with timely help? I pray You’ll come through with courage and comfort beyond what they could ask or imagine.”
Be a spiritual detective today. Pay close attention to God working, or how He could work in situations. Then, partner with Him to encourage others spiritually.