We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
— Romans 15:1
From time to time, we have all known individuals who wrestled with a problem or personal challenge, and we witnessed them struggle and inwardly fight for survival. In fact, you may know someone who fits this very description right now. Especially as we approach a holiday season, feelings of loneliness, isolation, and hopelessness can become even more pronounced. So what should you and I do to help people who are struggling and need support? What kind of support can we give to them to help them make it through Christmastime?
In Romans 15:1, Paul says, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” According to this verse, there are some of us who are stronger than others, and those of us who are stronger need to reach out to help those who are struggling!
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Take a little time to ask yourself this question today: Is there someone I know who needs a little extra encouragement and strength that I could provide along the way?
In fact, Romans 15:1 says we “ought” to do this for those who are weak. The word “ought” is the Greek word opheilo, and it means to be morally obligated or to do something as an obligation. In other words, we are obligated to do this for others. After all the ways people have helped us in our times of need, we are spiritually and morally obligated to do the same for others.
But for whom are we to do this? This verse says we are to do this for those who are feeling overwhelmed with personal “infirmities.” The word “infirmities” is asthenema, and it describes those who are weak, powerless, or struggling in some way, whether physically or emotionally. The word “weak” is adunatos, which depicts those who are depleted of power due to something they have experienced or gone through that has rendered them weak.
Take a moment to ponder the following questions. When you see people struggle:
- Do you come a little closer to check on them?
- Have you invited them to dinner, especially if they are feeling very alone?
- Could you possibly include that person in your holiday celebration so they conquer their feeling of isolation and feel included in someone else’s life?
- If you know someone who has experienced loss or grief of some kind, such as the loss of a relationship due to death or hardship, what can you do to help that person know that he or she is going to make it through this difficult season?
- I personally ask myself these questions during the Christmas season. Our ministry receives so many letters from people who struggle during the holidays. Christmastime can and should be a time of rejoicing, but it can also invoke painful memories of what has been lost through the passage of time. Rather than be consumed with your own celebrations and events, God’s Word encourages us “not to please ourselves,” but to reach out to those who are disempowered and suffering from painful circumstances. If you are strong, you have an obligation to reach out to those who are weak and hurt.
So this Christmastime, have you considered those who have suffered loss or stress due to hardships in their lives? What can you do to bring strength and friendship to those who have lost so much this year? This is your opportunity to be a source of strength to those who are in need. You may not know exactly what to say or to do, but perhaps your mere presence and friendship can bring them to a place of hope.
I encourage you to look beyond yourself and see what you can do for someone else this holiday season! If you’ll look to the Holy Spirit, He will show you how to be a source of power and strength to those who are in need. He is faithful to strengthen the weak and give power to the lowly — and He may very well choose you to be the vehicle that He uses to reach them with His love!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Heavenly Father, in the midst of this season when many are happy and joyfully celebrating Your gift of love to mankind, I realize that this is also a time of year when some people feel a profound sense of loss or sadness. Father, I ask You to let me be a hand of help to those who are in need. Help me bring encouragement to those who feel loss, who are disempowered, or who feel like they are struggling beyond their natural capacity to overcome. I know that You want to use me to reach them. I surrender myself as an instrument You can use to bring strength to the weak, hope to the hopeless, and support to those who need it the most. According to Romans 15:1, I commit to being a source of power and support to those who are in need.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I look beyond my own needs to see the needs of others. I am not self-consumed, but I am concerned about those about me who are suffering in all sorts of ways. The Holy Spirit uses me as I surrender to His sanctifying power so I can effectively undergird those who feel weak, especially in this holiday season. The Holy Spirit opens my eyes so I can see and feel what they see and feel and help them through their current struggle!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Do you know someone that needs extra-special care and support during this Christmas season? What can you do to reach out to them in a special way?
- Loneliness is a powerful for Can you think of individuals who may be experiencing loneliness this year and who need someone to reach out to them, comfort them, or befriend them in their time of need?
- There are many people who feel extra pressures when the holiday season comes. Have you looked around you to see who is struggling and who needs some emotional support? What can you do to help strengthen them in a time that could be especially troubling or emotionally difficult?