There’s this interesting passage in Romans, where the apostle Paul writes, “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.” (Rom. 1:11-12, ESV)
We fully expect the first bit; that Paul would be interested in imparting a gift to the Romans. His explanation takes us back, however. The gift he has in mind is not just a one-way bestowal. It is a mutual interaction. He wants to encourage the Roman Christians by his faith, and he is eager to be encouraged by theirs.
On one level, this is an astounding reality. Paul, the powerful apostle, author of much of the New Testament, worker of miracles, authoritative proclaimer of the gospel – this Paul, encouraged by the faith of a standard-issue, run-of-the-mill Christian? But on the other, it is not quite so surprising. Any mature Christian can tell you of the joy she finds in seeing a fellow sister in Christ growing in her love for Jesus. It’s infectious. If anything, it makes perfect sense that Paul would yearn to hear the stories of trust and worship rising from the hearts of these believers.
Let’s call this dynamic a “gospel reverberation.” It is the dance between the partners Gospel and Testimony. When the news of the gospel is met with faith, that truth explodes within us, creating life, changing us forever. The gospel is not a static bit of news. It is the air we breathe, crackling with life and glory; it is the truth, pulsing through our veins; it is the living hope we are born into, live in, and die clinging to.
But this miraculous transformation was never meant to be shoved under a bucket. It is meant to shine.
When we give testimony, we open the shutters of our hearts and permit the glory of God’s goodness to spill out into the darkness.
When we speak about what God has done and is doing, we ignite a flicker in the darkness that gives hope to what God might yet do.
When we fling wide the windows of our hearts with our words, we send out gospel reverberations that cannot help but shake our brothers and sisters. To rouse. To awaken. To excite.
But here is where the glory really lay. When those reverberations do stir the hearts of our fellow saints, and their faith is increased, and they fling wide the windows of their hearts and glory pours forth, we ourselves are granted the remarkable gift of beholding the gospel-glory cascade from our hearts to theirs, and back again.
So have you recently flung open the shutters of your heart to expose God’s movements? Have you sent reverberations of light careening through the valley of the shadow of death? The apostle Paul hungered for the encouragement he knew would come from sharing in his common faith with the Romans. Guess what? Your church is hungry for it too (though, they may not know it yet).
So talk. Share. Brag in the goodness and wonder of your God. Take the risk of opening up to share what God is doing in your heart. Send those gospel reverberations to stir the community you belong to.