The Well produces a devotional for each month on it’s monthly theme, which is currently ‘Community’. So in the spirit of community, this month’s daily devotions were written by lots of different people from within The Well. You can pick up a hard copy at AllWell or any of the expressions, but they are also posted daily on the blog and people can leave their responses and thoughts and feedback as we read together. I love reading other people’s comments because so often God has used that day’s devotion in a very different way for that person than he did for me, which makes for a really rich conversation.
Today is the first of the two devotions that I contributed…
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
There are lots of burdens in life that we carry daily, that can be big or small: difficult employers, financial worries, dysfunctional families, complicated work problems, a niggling health problem. It can be easy to slip into thinking that things should have somehow gotten easier once we began a relationship with the Creator of the world. Didn’t he say that is burden was easy? His yoke was light?
Of course, Jesus never promised that our problems would all disappear, that following him would bring wealth and success, often quite the opposite in fact. But read the Bible, and over and over you hear the promise ‘I am with you.’ God lives in us by his Holy Spirit, a source of living water that provides strength, wisdom, comfort, hope.
And we remember from our readings last month that this living water is meant to overflow from us into the lives of people around us. That can take so many forms but I think it starts with compassion and a willingness to be with people through their struggles, just as God is always with us. God ‘comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.’ (2 Corinthians 1:4)
Paul writes this command to the Galatians in the context of spiritual burdens and weakness. We are told to ‘gently restore’ our friends when they slip up, and to do so humbly in the knowledge that we will most likely be the next one to need restoring. This is not about judging, but acknowledging repentance, and encouraging one another as we continue the journey with Christ. Jesus declared his burden to be light and 1 John 5 says ‘his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.’ We are new creations, given power in Christ to do his will and bring pleasure to the one who created us.
I think part of carrying each other’s burdens is to remind one another continually of this power we have within us, and the hope that one day our restoration will be complete.