The aim of this devotional study is to grow in the understanding and practice of encouragement.
1 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.
2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
Observation and reflection
Note: The phrase “bear one another’s burden” is beautifully picturesque in Greek, which could be also translated “stake yourself to another” as one would stake a broken leg, to help it carry the weight and prevent pain and collapse.
With this short text we can reflect on the important phrases and see how it enriches the meaning of the Word for us today.
- What do you understand with the phrase “caught in any transgression”? Give some examples.
- Who do you think Paul refers to when he writes “you who are spiritual”?
- How do you “restore him in a spirit of gentleness”? What will the opposite be?
- What Christian attitude / characteristic does Paul implore with the phrase “Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted”? Why is this attitude important when supporting a friend in such a need? What will the opposite be?
- What do you think could be included in word “burdens”?
- What is “the law of Christ”, and what does it have to do with “bearing another’s burden”? How does this differ from the approach of “the law of Moses”?
- Why would Paul insert verse 3? What does it have to do within this context?
Chose one of two people in your circle of influence that are either burdened through
- spiritual weakness to temptation in a certain area, causing hopelessness.
- situational pressure – be it either studies, family pressure, financial or work pressure.
Think and write a simple plan by which you (and your small group?) can encourage each of them following Scriptural instruction above. In your plan, consider these truths in Paul’s plan:
- Nothing is more encouraging than someone who is with you (proximity)
- As John wrote “love in deed, not just in word” (practicality)
- One is encouraged by a fellow-struggler walking with you (humility)
- Encouragement lightens the load, accusation wears you down (gentleness)
When will you put your “burden-bearing” into practice?
Pray that God will help you become an encourager that bear the burdens of others and so fulfill law of love, even as Jesus came to illustrate by becoming man with us. Then pray for your two friends listed above.