“And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” (Romans 15:14, KJV 1900)
As I was working through the call to pastoral ministry, I had one mentor who challenged me with these words. “The ministry is gloriously difficult.” Often in the ministry we need times of reflection in order to seek encouragement. For me, the greatest encouragement in the ministry was to see what God has done in the lives of others.
Here, I believe that Paul was greatly encouraged by what he believed to be true of the believers in Rome. How Paul, who had not yet visited Rome came to this conclusion is not explained in the letter. He was encouraged on three points. First, the believers there were filled with moral goodness. They were seeking the right things, God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). This seeking produced in them a high degree of moral virtue in their lives.
Second, they were also filled with all knowledge. These believers were doctrinally sound. They knew what they believed and why they believed it. They were grounded in the Scriptures. They were no longer infants feeding on milk, but were able to digest the solid meat of God’s Word. Because they understood the depth of solid doctrine, they would be able to ward off the false teachers that wandered about as wolves in lambskins.
Third, because of their moral virtue and their solid knowledge of the truth, they were able to minister the word of God to one another. They were able to minister with the word when one needed encouragement or counselling. They were also able to warn others when they were wandering from the path of truth and righteousness.
All of these three virtues are marks of Christian maturity. They demonstrate that the believers in Rome had grown in the Lord. I believe that this encouraged Paul. How do I know this? It is from my personal experience. Someone once asked me what in ministry I desired to see the most? I answered that it was to see God work in the lives of believers such that they would grow to maturity in Christ likeness.
Do you want to encourage your pastor? The best way is to seek the Lord with a whole heart so you may experience the Holy Spirit’s work in growing you to spiritual maturity. This work involves resisting the evil desires of the flesh and pursuing holiness. It will involve digging into a serious study of God’s word. Not just reading short devotionals, but really digging in. When you do, you will be encouraging your pastor greatly and experiencing remarkable growth in your life.