Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Gift of Burden Bearing

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 ESV)

Bear (endure, carry) one another's burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it]. (Galatians 6:2 AMP)

What does it mean to bear a burden? 

We often consider burden bearing to be a burden in itself, when it is actually a way to experience true life by sharing our experiences. Burden bearing does NOT mean to tolerate sin, nor does it mean that we somehow absorb the burdens of others into our own. The last thing that a person needs is the throbbing weight of many burdens upon his shoulders.

The key to unlocking this spiritual principle lies in the second part of this verse. "Fulfill the law of Christ."

What then is the law of Christ?

While there are many deep explanations and commentaries on this phrase, I would like to propose a far simpler and more overarching definition.


The law of Christ is love.

This is what 1 Corinthians 13 so eloquently explains. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT)
So what if I can speak in tongues, if I have faith to move mountains? Does it really matter if my ability to love is gone? If I have not experienced the αγαρη love of Jesus then it really doesn't matter what credentials I have to my name.

My ministry is worthless. 
My relationships are worthless.
My identity is worthless.

Only love can inject meaning into these aspects of life. Only this kind of selfless love can enable us to bear one another's burdens. Only αγαρη love can enable us to see beyond our own needs, our own wants, and into the hearts of those around us.

When we bear our brother's burden, we feel the weight of neither my own burden or his. Why? In a beautiful and deeply spiritual sense, when our eyes are focused outside of ourselves, then we are able to fully devote our whole attention on loving others... And when we spend our entire self loving others, then the power to do so no longer stems from my own ability, but rather the very spirit of Jesus that dwells within.

When I bear my brother's burden, Jesus himself is sharing the experience through me.
When my brother bears my burden, Jesus himself is ministering to me.

Suddenly, what was once a friendship has become a spiritual conduit for the Holy Spirit to enter into our lives in a real, tangible way.

Why would we not want to invite the person of Jesus into the deepest part of our being, the darkest corners of our lives? Why wouldn't we want to extend the hand of Christ to our neighbor, to our brother?

The beauty of this to me is that relationships are in the deepest sense a little picture of a restored relationship with God. As I wrote in my previous post, God is in his deepest form a relationship. By being made in His image, and being found in Christ, then suddenly I am entering into a sacred relationship by bearing my brother's burden. 

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:17 NLT)

No comments:

Post a Comment