Do you have a church body, a circle of close friends within that body that you can count on for anything? Are there people in your life, especially in your Christian walk that walk with you, keep you accountable and are accountable to you? I do. Having that circle of Brothers and Sisters is imperative to my spiritual life.
We do a double duty for one another we edify or build one another up and at the same time we keep it real and keep one another humble. You can do all things through Him that strengthens you and you can do nothing apart from God. (Philippians 4:13 and John 5:15). Both these verses are common reminders to each other. In verses 1-2 Paul says it this way,
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
The law of Christ is fulfilled in love. It is not loving to allow a Brother to keep sinning. It is not loving to let your Sister keep walking away from Christ instead of toward Him. There is a messed up view some people hold, that says loving one another means we let each other do anything that pleases us, that we accept sin and destructive behavior from each other. That is not love. Is it loving to let your child play on a busy highway? Is it loving to give in to your toddler’s tantrum by giving her the candy she is screaming for? Is it loving to let your teenaged daughter go on a date with a Hell’s Angel? No!
It is no more loving to let your Brother continue in sin. You gently restore him. You kindly and softly nudge him back. But you have to be careful. You can’t think too highly of yourself while you’re doing that. While you are there pulling someone off the ledge, be sure someone is there to pull you off too. That is where we have to remember to keep each other humble.
While we are there for each other and are called to bear one another’s burdens, we are each responsible for our own actions, spirit, and life. I hope I will always have someone to walk beside me on the road and share my load as I share theirs. But my pack, is mine. The weight and contents of that pack affect every one of my Brothers and Sisters, but it is mine and I have to remember my responsibility to it. Verses 4-5 read,
“But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.”
You can’t just be concerned with Joe’s load and forget your own. Did you help get Joe back on the path again? Praise God for you! Are you on the path? Is your load causing trouble for anyone else? Is it causing trouble for you? Pay attention, take care of it. Get rid of the unnecessary crap in there. Are you sinning? Are you bearing the fruit of the Spirit? Get rid of the stuff keeping you from living fully for Christ. Allowing the Spirit to work in you, is up to you. Joe can only do so much to help you, and you can only do so much to help him. Your relationship should be one of mutual benefit, symbiotic not parasitic.
Verse 6 puts it this way,
“Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.”
We teach each other, we give and give back. I pour into you and you pour into me. When we involve The Spirit that pouring into each other is more than synergetic, it is supernatural, highly effective, and benefits everyone around. But if one person in the relationship thinks he can fake it, he’s wrong. How can you pour out the Spirit, if you do not have Him in you? How can you teach with the wisdom of God, if you do not have a relationship with Him? How can you love with the Love of Christ if you do not know Christ? What you put in, will yield results. Verses 7-8 read,
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
You have to take the responsibility. Go ahead and choose right. Do good. Bear one another’s burdens and keep going. Don’t be a parasite in the body. Keep giving. God will weed out the leeches. Rather than giving up because they are wearing you down, or just giving in and living like they do, be renewed and refreshed in the Spirit and by the Brothers and Sisters around you. Keep doing good, choosing right and bearing one another’s burdens. Your actions will also yield results. Verses 9-10 encourage us.
“ And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”