October 4, 2018
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.
Paul admits in his greeting that he had not met the Christians in Rome. His connection was that they had become believers in Jesus. That’s it. I wonder if I would travel to another city just to meet with the believers in that city. Paul outlines a different priority in this greeting. I am interested in his stated reason… That we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. God has been teaching me the importance of that, lately.
Worldly, human thinking tends to go one way or the other. Either I need the comfort of you encouraging me or, I need the satisfaction of encouraging you. In either case, the emphasis is on what I receive. We are wired to think like that. Sadly, many people approach God from that position/perspective… “What’s in it for me?” We treat God’s love like a bathtub full of water that we unabashedly enjoy. His love is a river, flowing into us and out again to someone else. “Out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
Don’t be a God hoarder. I have not written that word before… wasn’t sure how to spell it. The thought is new to me… “God hoarder” hmmm. We are like kids, “I know something you don’t.” Our relationship to other Christians is to mutually encourage each other; our relationship with the unbeliever is to give him what we have. There can be no pride involved. Some people try to get people to say they need Jesus so they can put another notch in their proverbial belt. As we near the great and terrible Day of the Lord, we must have the mind of God… “I don’t want to see anybody burned in the lake of fire.” (2Peter 3:9)
We look at everyone as a potential/future believer. Jesus said, “Love your enemies.” Love them enough to want them to be in heaven with you. At this point in time, you may not feel as though you have any enemies, but the day is approaching when that might be more of a reality. If you are a channel for God’s love you will see them differently than if you are a reservoir with a drain plug that can be pulled. Again, I say, “Don’t be a God hoarder.”