For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established.
— Romans 1:11
We saw earlier (see the May 20 Gem) that the apostle Paul deeply yearned to meet the believers in Rome because he believed that if he could spend time with them or perhaps if he could lay hands on them, there would be a spiritual impartation to them. As we discussed then, the word “impart” in Romans 1:11 is the Greek word metadidomi, which means to transfer something from one to another. The only reason Paul would use this word was if he believed he had something inside him that could be transferred to the Romans. Paul believed in what he had in himself, and he was sure that if he could get to them in person, that spiritual substance he carried would rub off on them!
As Paul continued in Romans 1:11, he made it very clear regarding what he wanted to impart. He specifically stated that he believed if he could spend time with them, it would result in the impartation of a “spiritual gift” to them. The word “gift” in this verse is the word charisma — and it is derived from charis, which is the Greek word for grace. When charis becomes charisma, it depicts something that is given or imparted by grace. This is why certain people call themselves Charismatics — indicating that they claim to be gifted with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, or at least that they place a significant emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit in their expression of worship.
Historically, the word charisma was used to describe that moment when the gods graced or donated supernatural ability, favor, or power to an individual. Thus, this word charisma meant a gracious gift — and that is exactly how it should be interpreted in the New Testament. A person who has received a charisma has received a donation or an enablement from God that equips him in some supernatural manner.
Thus, when Paul wrote that he wanted to impart a spiritual gift to the Romans, he was saying that if he could see them in person, God would impart a charisma — a divine gifting — to them.
Paul continued to say, “For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established” (Romans 1:11). The word “established” comes from the Greek word steridzo. It describes something fixed and solid, like a column that holds up the roof of a house. It could also be rendered to brace, to shore up, to bolster, to support, or to uphold, and it fundamentally describes the act of adding strength and support to something that already exists.
In ancient times, the word steridzo was also used to describe a rod that was driven into the ground next to a grapevine to support the grapevine as it grew upward and flourished. That stake gave upward direction to the vine and supported the clusters of rich grapes that hung from the vine. The vines were reinforced and supported by the rod that the vine grew and twined around.
This illustration perfectly encapsulates how I feel when I am around seasoned men or women of God. After being in their presence, I spiritually feel like an iron rod has been hammered into the soil of my heart that helps me keep growing upward in the right direction. I feel reinforced and stronger as a result of being with them. They help me keep my focus where it ought to be, and this all contributes to fruitfulness in my life.
In our backyard in Moscow, Denise and I have grapevines that grow along the fence. As usual, they started out as little twigs that looked every unattractive. But our gardener was certain of their growth, so he acted in faith and firmly hammered tall metal rods next to each little twig. When I asked what those rods were for, he informed me that each rod would provide direction for the vine to grow upward. It was hard to imagine that those tiny little sticks poking out of the ground would one day need such a tall rod to grow on, but he was right! Eventually the vines twined around the rods, growing upward toward the light. Those rods reinforced the growth process — and it wasn’t too long before the vines were producing healthy clusters of grapes.
That’s what the gifts of the Holy Spirit are intended to do for us — to establish us, to reinforce us, to make us stronger, and to help us grow so we can then bear much fruit for the glory of Jesus and for the furtherance of His Kingdom!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I am so grateful for the privilege of being around seasoned men or women of God. After being in their presence, I spiritually feel like an iron rod has been hammered into the soil of my heart that helps me keep growing upward in the right direction. I thank You for the blessing of being reinforced and stronger as a result of their influence. Holy Spirit, help me follow their example in Christ so I can keep my focus where it ought to be, and produce greater fruitfulness in my life.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are at work on my behalf to establish me, to reinforce me, to make me stronger, and to help me grow. I walk with the wise, and wisdom surrounds and saturates me so that I can bear much fruit for the glory of Jesus and the furtherance of His Kingdom!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you recall a moment when you felt spiritually reinforced simply by being in the presence of someone who was older and more seasoned in the Lord?
- What fruit was produced in you as a result of that righteous influence?
- Are the gifts of the Holy Spirit in manifestation in your congregation? If not, is there a reason why they are not manifesting in the church? Is the manifestation of these gifts permitted? Do you know what your church believes about the gifts of the Holy Spirit?