Tuesday 19th March
I recently had a conversation with someone who felt slightly isolated from other believers and was struggling on her own. It is a simple truth that when we are left out of fellowship, accountability and communion with other believers, our flame slowly dies out and we become a flickering candle instead of the beacon of light that Christ wants us to be. It is like the example of a match. A single match can easily be blown out but when joined together with a whole bunch of matches, it is much harder to blow out. And so it is with our lives. Separated from others we become vulnerable and easy targets for the enemy but when we stand together, we are stronger and therefore can withstand the enemy and resist him, of course only in the power of Christ in us.
The church in Galatia had a problem. Legalism. Many still believed that the Law was there to save them from their sin rather than accepting Christ’s redemptive work at the cross. This theology led to a strict judgemental attitude towards others when it came to seeing sin in other people’s lives. Paul in Galatians 6:1 addresses this issue and warns against judgemental attitudes. “If a man is overtaken by any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.” Paul here is specifically addressing the issue of someone who is clearly fallen into sin. But rather than showering them with condemning accusations, Paul pleads to get alongside them and restore them with gentleness. God is into the work of restoration. We as body of believers are part of that work. We are His hands and feet on this earth bringing hope to the hopeless and liberty to the captives. Although this specific situation is most probably addressing a “church” issue, the principle of getting alongside someone who is living sin, through gentleness and love is evident to see.
Paul warns however, that the attitude needed when approaching a situation like this, is one of humility not thinking that you are more holy or righteous than the person caught in sin, but approaching them with love and humility in a gentle spirit. This attitude prevents us from falling into the same sin ourselves. When I read those words I often think, how is it possible that a ‘spiritual’ person correcting someone else’s sin may get caught up himself in that sin. Sometimes, as ‘spiritual’ believers we are called to reach into difficult situations and pull out those who are struggling. We must guard ourselves so that we may not fall into that same temptation. Are you willing to save a bother/sister from falling deeper into sin?
We then read in verse 2 the significance of why we help others who are struggling. By bearing one another’s burdens we are activating the love of Christ in us and through us. Gentleness and humility are the physical attributes or characteristics of Christ’s love through us. By bearing one another’s burdens we are saying ‘I am willing to stand with you through this’. Sometimes when someone is going through a hard season in their life, all they need is a loving arm around them and a reassuring voice to comfort them. It is in those times, when people are struggling the most that they feel further and further from the body of Christ. Judgemental and critical attitudes only push people further away from God’s loving arms. However a gentle, humble and loving attitude and character shown to a struggling sinner leads them into the path of righteousness and into the Father’s warm embrace. Bearing the burden of a fellow believer or someone who does not yet know Christ is a key attribute and characteristic of a unified and Spirit filled body. Don’t let wandering sheep go astray!!