Spring is confused. It cannot decide who it will be. Yesterday it held fast to winter with its cold and its dark. Tomorrow it might choose summer, embracing its warm sunny ways. Today it wants to love both, the dark and the light. Decide, spring, and live decided! Leave the days of deciding behind.
Welcome to a season of focused attention on loving others well. Make this a time of putting away the question, “Will I love those God has given me to love today?” Ask only the question, “How will I love those God has given me to love today?” Practice living a “decided” rather than a “deciding” life.
Week 14 “Carry one another’s burdens”
Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
Gal. 6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5 for each one should carry his own load.
You can’t live this way alone and no one can do it for you. This is the tension of the Christian life. There is a tendency to lean one way or another; if you lean too far and too long in either direction, you will eventually fall. One approach leans too much on self and believes that you do not need others to remain faithful and fruitful. This is not how God has designed us to live. The other approach looks too much to others and fails to take full responsibility for self. This causes us to look to external solutions for internal problems and opportunities. This tension explains why Paul writes that you should “carry each other’s burdens”, but then he follows with “each one should carry his own load.” The burden we are to share is something too heavy for one person to carry. The load is more like a backpack; it is something we must bear ourselves. Paul is giving us the balanced approach of both sharing the heavy burdens and carrying your own load. Which way does the wind blow in your life? Are you prone to be a spiritual loner? Perhaps you have friends and talk with people, but you do not let them into your struggles. Do you believe that you should be able, with God’s help, to make life happen without the assistance of others? Will you repent of this pride? You need to let others help you carry your burdens, both for your sake and for theirs. Perhaps you lean the opposite way. Are you prone to look to others too much to do for you what you should do for yourself? This approach can often turn into a demanding spirit. Sometimes people who struggle with this can come across externally as independent, while on the inside they are very dependent on others. The “pull” these people have on others can be conflicting. On the one hand, they can act indifferently to needing help; while on the other hand, they can become angry or sulk when the “right” kind of help is not offered. Don’t play these games! Will you repent of this demanding spirit? Carry the burdens of others and also let them help you carry yours. Carry your own load and do not look to others to do what God has called you to do. Close the gap on loving others. Look today to let others more deeply into your life and look for ways to invest more deeply in the lives of others.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.