Galatians 6 Lesson

Bearing One Another's Burdens

ALL OF US WILL SUFFER IN THIS LIFETIME

One of the most common misperceptions about becoming a Christian is that life will suddenly become easy once we commit to following Jesus.

That is simply not the case, and there are numerous scriptures to back that up. The decision to follow Jesus is the most important decision that anyone can make. Following Jesus is how we become children of God (Galatians 3:26), and it is the only path that leads to eternal salvation. It is not, however, going to be easy.

As we live our lives, we all will have our share of adversity that we must go through. Suffering is necessary for us to reach our full potential as Christians. God did not spare His Son from suffering, He did not spare the Apostles, and He will not spare us. God allows us to go through suffering for three reasons:

  1. To teach us,
  2. To discipline us,
  3. To reveal His supreme power.

Jesus said:

  • “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” – Mathew 16:24-25.

Peter wrote in his first epistle:

  • “Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” - 1 Peter 4:12-14

The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans:

  • “We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5.

These scriptures make it clear that all of us will suffer. But that is not the end of the story. As part of God’s plan, He wants us to help one another.

BEARING ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS

Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians:

  • “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2.

This is an incredibly important scripture for us to understand. In order for us to understand what Paul means in the above scripture, we must first define what it means to bear one another’s burdens.

According to Google Dictionary, to bear means:

  • “To carry the weight of; to support.”

When others are suffering, and we can help them, we should! Sadly, this is not how the world sees things. Too often people say that they are too busy t o bear the burdens of others.  Bearing the burdens of others requires a mind shift whereby we put others' needs ahead of our own.  When we do this, we bring glory to God!  Consider the following scripture from Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

  • “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:3-4.

The global pandemic has changed things for a lot of us. People are experiencing fear, isolation, economic uncertainty, sickness, and even death.  God has a plan for us to help one another, and Paul describes it in Galatians Chapter 6 when he writes that we are to:

  • “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” - Galatians 6:2.

This scripture is related to the command that Jesus gave in John’s Gospel:

  • “A new commandment I give to you, thatyouloveone another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this, all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35.

If we are to fulfill the law of Christ, we need to love one another as Jesus loves us. This means that we need to take the time to get to break bread together and learn about the struggles that people are facing. After all, if we do not know what a person is struggling with, how can we support them, or help them through it?

If we want to be like Jesus, we should seek out those that are carrying a heavy burden and love them enough to get involved. If there is an opportunity to relieve someone of all or part of their burden, we should take it!

Our faith means nothing if it does not inspire us to act! James wrote about this in his epistle:

  • “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. ” – James 2:14-17.

DO NOT GROW WEARY IN DOING GOOD!

When it comes down to it, most of us want to do the right thing.  But too often, we find ourselves “too busy” or we do not know where to start. If we know that someone is suffering, we would love to try to help them. But too often, we either do not how, or we simply chose not to. 

Maybe we have tried to help others in the past and things did not go well?  If that is the case, God is telling us not to give up!  He is telling us not to let one unpleasant experience stop us from doing what is right and what is good.  God wants us to continue to look for people that are suffering and be willing to get involved and help them.  Not only to help them but to love them as Jesus loves us.  That is what Christians do!

Paul wrote to the Galatians the following words that apply to us all:

  • “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” – Galatians 6:9.

If life has knocked us down, God wants us to get back up.  If there are obstacles in our way, God wants us to overcome them and to go about the business of bearing one another’s burdens.

CONCLUSION

All of us know somebody that is suffering and could use some support. As disciples of Jesus, we are to love our neighbors enough to get involved and seek opportunities to support them and ease their burden.

Similarly, if we are the ones that are suffering, we need to be humble enough to let others help us. We must not let pride, fear, or selfishness stand in the way of doing what God has called us to do.

We will end today’s study with the following scriptures taken from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

  • “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – Mathew 5:13-16.

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Virtual Bible Study

What are some ways that we can bear the burdens of others?

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Pat Dermody
Virtual Bible Study

When someone close to us is bearing a heavy burden we often want to suggest ways to “fix “ the problem. However, we may not be able to do this or have the expertise or training to make suggestions. We have not walked in their shoes. The most important thing we can do is listen intently with a loving heart and with respect. It is not a time for us to then tell “our”story or judge. What we CAN do is pray and let the person know we are there to support them. (Call or text them. Fix a dinner or invite them to dinner or do something fun like bowling or walking together).

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