Romans 1:8-15: Bond of Faith

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 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. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well 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 I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. -Romans 1:8-15 ESV

By Sarah Morris
    The church is comprised of many people. Christ is the head, and we are the body; it is a community, a relationship. Paul writes in this passage about yearning to be with those that are his brothers and sisters in Christ. He thanks God for them, for their belief in Jesus Christ. This journey of faith isn’t meant to be walked alone, with one set of shoe prints in the dusty path. We need mentors and friends, people to help give us strength in the trying times as well as laughs and smiles in periods of happiness and joy. We may look at Paul and see him as an exceptional leader in the church and a spreader of the Gospel—which he is. But, he even admits that he needs encouragement and friendship as much as someone who is new to the faith. I believe there is something to be said here. Many people feel that they don’t have much to offer to others, that maybe their faith is still too new and young. They only think they can receive encouragement, instead of giving it to others. Paul knows that this Christian life is a relationship and not a solo voyage. Have you been forging it alone? Try and become involved with other Christians, find mentors—don’t let this life become something that is walked on your own. Seek and share the love of Jesus with your brothers and sisters. And be open to whom God brings into your life. Paul wasn’t supposed to just preach to and embrace his friends. He was called to even share God’s love with the barbarians. Maybe you don’t know ‘barbarians,’ though there might be people that you don’t get along with. But these people might be the ones that Jesus wants you to learn from, or they to learn from you. So be open to the people God may bring into your life, and seek to find a community of believers. Don’t go at it alone.