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.
IT seems interesting to me, with all the focus that is often placed on “discovering your spiritual gifts,” that Paul here uses the notion of spiritual gifts in a rather unique way. He speaks of imparting a spiritual gift to the Romans, whom he is hoping to visit for the first time sometime in the near future. If one were sold on our test-driven sort of spiritual gift inventory understanding of spiritual gifts, he or she would have to conclude that Paul is talking about giving to the Romans a gift like mercy or service or evangelism. Were a person convinced along more charismatic lines, he or she would argue that Paul was planning to go and give the Romans some power such as the ability to heal or speak in tongues. But neither of these ideas is in view.
Paul, after declaring his desire to impart a spiritual gift to the Roman church, then follows up that notion with an explanation so that no one would miss it. Paul then said that he means that he wants them to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. In sharing life together, doing church together, and ultimately reminding one another of the glory of God and of their wonderful responsibility to serve God, Paul says that he will be imparting a spiritual gift to them. True, loving, biblical fellowship, encouragement, and leadership is a spiritual gift. No, it’s not nearly as intriguing to many as are “sign” gifts; but such a gift is actually of far more use to the church. Spiritual gifts are intended by God for the building up of the body of Christ for the glory of God. Spiritual gifts are not given by God so that we can feel powerful or impress our friends with neat tricks.
So, now that we know that mutually encouraging one another with the word of God is a way to give a true spiritual gift, how can you and I do that today? What might you do today to bring a fellow believer to a better place because of your sharing with him your Christian life? Who might you be able to talk with today about the glories of the word of God? Who can you pray for today? Better yet, with whom can you pray today? I urge you to think about it, and find a way to give a spiritual gift by encouraging someone in the faith.
Dear Lord, I pray that you will help me to be a part of giving spiritual gifts as Paul did in this text. I recognize that there are gifts that you give us at salvation that are not what Paul is speaking of here. But, like those gifts, this gift in Romans 1 is also a gift given with the purpose of strengthening the church. I pray that you will help me to strengthen the church by encouraging someone with your word today.