Romans 1:8 NASB
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.”
Paul continues his long introduction (which will continue though v15) but as he’s transitioned out of speaking of himself, the gospel and God. He gives a heartfelt encouragement to the recipients of the letter with a genuinely deserved praise. He thanks God by prayer though the power of the Holy Spirit given by Jesus for the FAITH of the church in Rome. Their faith is was well known throughout the world. Rome next to Jerusalem, had become the epicenter of the Christian faith and despite trials and tribulations of following Jesus their faith had persevered and blossomed to the point that Paul felt they were worthy of this recognition. If there’s one thing we know from Paul, is that he doesn’t pull back any punches. He tells the truth despite how harsh it might seem. But that only makes his encouragement all that much sweeter. He is a loving father figure and apostolic leader of the church and he gives thanks to God for the real faith that has been produced by the church in Rome.
Such a valuable lesson we can learn from this quick encouragement Paul has given to the church. We need to be encouragers to fellow believers. And no, catching up on football games or asking about how work is, is not encouraging one another. Real spiritual encouragement is from the Holy Spirit. It is a tool used by God through His church to build each other up. Through encouragement and edification we find hope, love and faith rising up inside of us. We need to encourage each other more! Asking the Holy Spirit to give us words from Scripture, supernatural knowledge and wisdom and positive reinforcement for our fellow believers in Christ. Too many believers face trials and challenges in life with little to no spiritual support. We must imitate Paul, and when opportunity arises, to give needed and deserved encouragement. Let’s not be ashamed and give it! There’s a difference between flattery and insincere praise vs Biblical encouragement that God is pleased with. As you begin to take steps to encourage other believers on a consistent basis you will see how God uses you as a vessel to accomplish His will in building up His church. Withhold encouragement due to fear, insecurity or lack of maturity, you will not only miss out on being a blessing to others but you contribute to the stifling of encouragement in your church.