For the past few weeks I've been studying the book of Romans where I've been challenged by one particular verse in which Paul speaks to the extraordinary role believers should play in each other's faith journeys.
"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."
Thinking about this verse, I've begun to ask myself:
Do my believing friends and I mutually encourage each other's faith?
The Greek word Charisma is translated to "spiritual gift" in this passage. Charisma means a gift of grace and it is the instantaneous enablement of the Holy Spirit in the life of any believer to exercise a gift for the encouragement and strengthening of others.
So what are these "gifts of grace" that believers have to give that will encourage and strengthen each other's faith?
To answer this question, I turned to my own life.
Recently I received a letter in the mail from a cousin of mine. In her own handwriting she took the time to encourage me to continue writing this blog. Friends, I cannot even begin to tell you how encouraged I was to continue walking in obedience to the Lord where this blog is concerned. Her heartfelt letter of affirmation was a gift of grace and together, through our words, she and I are encouraging each other's faith.
Grayden has a neat little Kindergarten friend from his class who loves Jesus. He and Grayden have play dates every so often together after school. Just the other day I was picking Grayden up from one of these play dates and the boy's mom tells me how Grayden and her son jammed to the Christian radio station the whole time they were playing together. She could hear them both singing along to the words together. Their worship of Jesus together was a gift of grace, mutually encouraging each other's faith.
I find gifts of grace when I meet with other believers for prayer and bible study. We encourage each other's faith with honest, heartfelt sharing of how God is working in our lives.
When I'm weary and discouraged in parenting, I have a few moms I can get together with who will speak truth, point me to Jesus, and love me. I can be vulnerable and honest with them about my struggles and they listen with compassionate and wise ears. Our friendship in parenting is a gift of grace. Together we spur each other on in the faith.
So I believe these "gifts of grace" are those moments when the Holy Spirit enables us to imitate Jesus and point other believers to Him. When we live out His teachings and interact with others in light of them, we will encourage them!
As believers who have the Spirit of Christ in us, we all have the capability of imparting gifts of grace to other believers to strengthen and encourage them in the faith. We don't have to be perfect, have all the answers, or look like we have it all together. We just have to walk humbly with Jesus day in and day out. Pray to Him. Read His Word. And allow His Spirit to sanctify us to do His will.
Even Paul humbly recognized that he needed to be mutually encouraged by the new converts in the Roman church. No matter how long you've been a believer nor how knowledgeable you are about spiritual things, the Holy Spirit can use you to impart gifts of grace for the mutual encouragement of other believers.
And the Holy Spirit can use our kids as well. I'd like to take time today to pray first, that our kids would long for and find solid relationships with other believers as they grow up...relationships that specialize in mutual encouragement through gifts of grace. And secondly, I'd like to pray that our kids continue to be sanctified by the Spirit and in tune to what gifts He's asking them to impart to others.
I pray that You would provide solid Christian friendships for my children as they grow up. May these friendships specialize in mutually encouraging each other's faith through gifts of grace. Would you continue to sanctify my kids through the Spirit, making them more and more like You. I pray they would learn to be in tune to the Spirit's call and guiding in their lives, especially in regards to how they can mutually encourage other believers in the faith. Instead of discouraging other believers, may their living be full of grace toward others!