Planning Faith

John Tilton

"I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong, that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles." (Romans 1:11-13)
The believers in Rome were known for their faith. Paul reaffirmed the gift of faith that they were known for, and then directed them to use it as an encouragement to one another. Together, faith and encouragement would manifest itself in making them stronger. Paul makes an important point when he says that he was prevented from doing so prior that he might prepare to better lead and disciple them.
It's so easy to know about faith, to speak about it and to attest to it. However, in the midst of the fiery challenge are we able to implement what we know, speak about and attest to? Are we truly able to walk through tough times based on faith? I've often had a propensity to doubt, stress or try to take control of the situation.

Paul had a plan. His plan is a textbook masterpiece in encouragement and support.

  1. Paul pre-states his goal of imparting strength in the believers.
  2. He gives value, by recognizing the attribute of faith that they were known for.
  3. Paul also finds a common denominator by affirming that they both can encourage one another in their faith, thereby forming a bond of support.
  4. Paul notes that he "planned" in a quest to realize his goals for them.
Paul's plan is subtly brilliant, as his plan is an act of embracement. Speaking to or into the lives of others is one of the most challenging situations I can think of. Therefore, having a plan even in ministry opens more doors of opportunities.
Lord, I pray that as I lead and serve in ministry, like Paul I would have a subtle plan to engage people into serving and that my heart would be to grow people in their faith and relationship with you. But may I always remember to team with others, then set our goal, and maintain healthy relationships of value.

Devotions for May 20

1 Kings 6
2 Chronicles 3
Psalms 97
Romans 1

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