We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.
Romans 15:2 NLT
There is an undefinable and undeniable strength that comes from following Christ. This strength provides confidence, courage and conviction. It allows us to attempt great things for Him as well as rest in His grace. Paul reminded Timothy that, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Tim 1:7 NLT)
Some use their power and strength for control and condemnation. This only instills insecurity, insensitivity and indifference. Strength from God is characterized with devotion for others and discipline of self. It’s not about what we can be but what we can do for others. The Message reminds us, “Strength is for service, not status”. (Rom 15:2)
The early believers in Rome were discovering and defining their understanding of what it meant to be a strong follower of Christ. Some experienced a freedom of grace, while others exercised a formation of guidelines. Some were strong in their faith, while others struggled as they grew. It was not about proving who was right or pleasing self . . . it was about peacefully and practically serving others. Paul wrote, “We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1 NLT). This juxtaposition required delicate decisions and peaceful practice.
Empathetic Willingness. Paul tells us, “we should help others do what is right”. Some feel this should be done by proclamation . . . telling others what to do. The apostle motivates us to participation . . . helping others with what to do. Often we need to give strength to those who are struggling or suffering. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” Empathy requires a willing effort to engage. The writer of Hebrews encourages us, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” (Heb 10:24 NLT)
Encouraging Words. Our words need to be constructive, not condemning. Discouraging words erect a wall, while encouraging words build a bridge. Solomon reminds us, “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” (Prov 12:25 NLT). Our source of encouragement comes from our strength in our Savior. Isaiah writes, “The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary.” (Is 50:4 NLT)
Leo Buscaglia wrote, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
May our strength in Christ be evidenced by our service to others. May our confidence in Him be seen in our compassion. May our boldness be characterized by our blessing of others. May He define us as such.