Galatians 6:1-3, 7-10, ESV
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Galatians 6 is just another example of how God’s Word paints the perfect balance between two extremes. We are commanded to restore sinning brothers and sisters in a spirit of gentleness. However, Paul warns us strongly to watch our own lives, lest while we are correcting someone else, we ourselves are in sin. The aspect of the spirit of gentleness is reinforced with verse three, where we are warned against coming to that situation with a proud “better-than-thou” attitude. God is not fooled when we are hypocritical; He sees through to our heart, and we will be rewarded accordingly.
The overall theme of this passage is doing good to others out of a Spirit-filled heart. This is evidenced in verse two by “bear[ing] one another’s burdens.” God, through Paul, tells us that showing love in this way to another brother or sister in Christ is fulfilling the law of Christ. We are told in verse nine that a motivation for doing good to our brothers and sisters in Christ is that, in God’s time, we will be rewarded by Him. Often, it’s so easy to just get tired of loving others. Even as Christians, we often are not the easiest people to love. But God promises that we will be rewarded if we don’t grow tired and give up.
So what does it mean for me to bear someone’s burden? Before I can love someone else, I have to stop loving myself. That means that I must make the decision to put my Christian brother’s or sister’s needs before my own. This isn’t easy, but as we put to death our flesh and its desires, we are able to replace it with love for God and other people. Practically, that likely means that you’ll be out of your comfort zone at times. Especially when your dealing with that person…you know, the one who just seems to annoy you every time you see him/her. Spirit-filled love asks how I can meet the needs of that person. Sometimes meeting the needs of others requires us to give of our time, resources, emotion, and prayer. As we’re remind in the passage though, no cost is too great. We have an opportunity to show our love for Christ by obeying Him, and we also have the promise that we will be rewarded by Him. May we fulfil the law of Christ as we show love in a practical way to our brothers and sisters in Christ.