If you are looking for a way to carry out Christ’s command to love your neighbor, Paul has a suggestion: bear their burdens. At some point, everyone struggles under the weight of an oppressive situation. Believers have an obligation to get under that load next to their brothers and sisters.
Jesus sets the pattern for burden bearing. He calls to Himself all who are heavy-laden and gives them rest (Matt. 11:28-29). Since God predestines believers to be conformed to Christ’s likeness, we must imitate His care and concern for those who suffer. Acts 4:32 shows that the early church followed His example. To lift the load of poverty, they pooled their resources so that no one was in need.
Paul’s letters make clear his concern for the physical and spiritual welfare of growing churches. He fasted and prayed for them and sent missionaries when he could. He felt it was his responsibility to strengthen them, even though he sustained a personal hardship—his thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7).
A believer cannot wait until his life is clear of obstacles before reaching out to others, since that day may never come. Even though we have our own needs, we can do all things through Christ’s strength—including sharing someone else’s adversity (2 Cor. 12:9).
When you’re willing to wade into someone else’s troubles to help that person hold up under the weight, two things happen. First, he or she receives desperately needed blessings in the form of aid, support, and love. And second, you fulfill God’s command to love a neighbor as yourself.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.
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