“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.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Have you ever tried to do a job for two people all by yourself? That’s no easy feat. Depending on the exact nature of the task, it may be impossible. The fact is, life was not meant to be done alone. Even if we happen to be physically capable enough to handle most of it, relationally and emotionally we’re going to run into trouble. Life is better with company.
This is what Paul captures here in his letter to the believers in ancient Rome. He had never been to Rome when he wrote this, but how he longed to be able to see these believers who were so young in their faith. He longed to pour into them, but also to learn from them. They were pursuing their relationship with Christ in a context for which the word difficult didn’t begin to cover it. Given the trials he himself had faced, their encouragement would have meant the world to him.
When it comes to our journeys after Jesus, having someone else to go along with us makes all the difference. So I wonder then, who’s journeying along with you? Who do you have that you are sharing your journey of faith with? Because here’s the thing: You aren’t going to be able to do it well on your own.
On your own, you will face trials and temptations that will drag you down. When there’s someone else who is walking alongside you, though, you have someone with whom to share the load. They can encourage you and you them so that the trials become more bearable and the temptations aren’t as pressing as they would otherwise be.
On your own, growth is a challenge. When there’s someone with you along the way, though, they can challenge you and help you clear hurdles that stand in your way. They can call you along and you them so that together you move forward smoothly toward who God designed you to be.
We can keep going like this, but the point is becoming clear even in this short time. Who do you have that you are walking with in your faith journey? With whom can you share the load of mutual accountability and encouragement? You need someone. More than that, you need a community. You need a church. So here’s your challenge: Find your partner and find your community. You won’t grow like you should without them. Let’s face it: If Paul needed this, we do too!