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::Devotional:: ‘Live By The Spirit’ Part 2

July 21, 2009

full-holy-spirit-window

Yesterday, we looked at the freedom to act in abundance according to the Holy Spirit in Part 1 of the series ‘Live By The Spirit‘.  I’ve come to realize through the power of God’s Word that there are some amazing opportunities to experience God if we will just open ourselves in obedience to the Holy Spirit.  Truly an abundant life to be lived.  Today we’re going to continue in Galatians and look at Paul’s instructions on living out the law of Christ; loving your neighbor as yourself.

 

“Brothers, if someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you may be tempted.  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.”  Galatians 6:1-5

 Paul’s corrections to the Galatians merits consideration within our lives as well.  Are we living out the law of Christ? Remember, Paul summed up the law of Christ when he said “love our neighbor as yourself” in Galatians 5:14.

Restore Those Caught In Sin

 In a recent conversation with a friend, we spoke about the unique approach necessary to effectively minister to a group of students who have been grossly entrapped by sin and said “it is going to take someone who is used to a very raw approach in ministering to students.”  In other words, it was going to take someone with some expertise and experience who would not be taken aback by what they saw in these students’ lives nor be tempted to join in.  Someone Paul refers to in this passage as spiritual; used to restoring people from sin.  The idea of restoring can be understood as a fisherman would mend, or restore, his fishing nets when they had become tattered and torn.  It is often all to easy to distance ourselves from those who have become entrapped by sin and are struggling to get loose.  I believe there’s wisdom in being cautious but we also have to realize that sometimes we’re going to have to get our hands dirty in order to help someone out the pit.  

Carry Each Other’s Burdens

In order to fulfill this component of the law of Christ we have to commit ourselves to two things; we must be willing to receive help, and we must be willing to offer help.

  • Receiving Help – about the only reason I can think of that anyone would refuse help is because they are prideful and are trying to portray that they are something they really aren’t.  Paul says that if we are at that point and think we are something when we are nothing, we are only deceiving ourselves.  Oscar Wilde wrote “every saint has a past and ever sinner has a future.”  My friends we are all sinners saved by grace and when the weight of sin is not pressing down upon us the weight of the world is.  We all struggle.  The body of the Christ, the church, has been provided that we would not struggle alone.  We must be willing to lay our burdens open before others and take the offers of help when they come.
  • Offering Help – If we are to receive help we have to be willing to offer help.  Sometimes I wonder if it is not easier to offer help than it is to receive help?  Regardless, we are called to become involved in the lives of others through relationships centered on Christ.  I’m not saying we are given free reign to be nosy in someone else’s business, but I do believe that part of the community of the body of Christ is characterized by compassion towards one another.  The early church of Acts 2 is described as “selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as they he had need.”  Acts 2:45  Are we living that out today or are we more concerned with making sure we keep enough to take care of our own?  After all, we’ve worked hard for what we’ve managed to gather – why would we want to give it to someone who we know is involved in things they shouldn’t be?  Don’t we deserve something better for behaving better?  Paul cautions us about comparing ourselves to one another among the body.

Avoid Comparing Yourselves To Others

Apparently Paul addressed the legalistic teachings of the church of Galatia quickly because it was the catalyst of comparisons among the believers and that is cancerous to the body of Christ, the church.

Nothing reveals the wickedness of Legalism better than the way legalists treat those who have sinned.  Warren Wiersbe

Rather than comparing ourselves to other Christians in an attempt to rate ourselves on the scale of righteousness we ought to investigate our own motives for doing what we do.  Are we doing good because we want to look good or are we doing good because we genuinely want to see the goodness of God shine through us into the lives of other people?  Comparing ourselves to other people, even Christians, is not beneficial.  On the day we stand before Jesus and give an account for all we have done, as Christians, we will stand and answer alone.  We will each have to carry our own load.  

We  are called to a life in Christ where “freely we have received and freely we will give” is our anthem and “loving our neighbor as ourselves” is our creed.  Paul says we can take pride in ourselves – the type of pride you would have in a job well done  – we seek out those who are in need and assist them because we know we are in need of assistance ourselves.  Perhaps that’s why Jesus may look upon us, as we stand before him one day, and say “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  Seek out someone you know who is in need today and do what you can to help them.  For no other reason than you are a Christian and you have been called to love your neighbor as yourself.

-Stay Rooted Col. 2:7-

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