Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
— Galatians 6:2

Not so long ago, a precious woman in our congregation came to church looking sad and depressed. It was unusual to see her this way, because she was normally cheerful and full of faith. She sat in her chair, dropped her head, and began to weep. I wanted to go to her right then, but she had come into the service late, and I was on stage getting ready to step up to the pulpit to preach.

As I delivered my message, I kept glancing in her direction to see if she was still crying. Her head remained clutched in her hands, and I could see that she was sobbing about something that was greatly burdening her heart. When the service concluded, I went with my pastoral staff into the foyer to shake hands with people who were leaving the service. Soon she appeared in the line with heavy red eyes and a countenance that told me she was heartbroken over something.

I pulled her out of the line and called for my precious wife. Soon the two of them were sitting alone at the far end of the foyer where they could talk without anyone overhearing the conversation. The woman told Denise that her husband, who had been delivered from alcoholism, had started to drink again. That weekend he had been violent toward her and verbally abusive toward the children, acting like the old man he used to be. The woman’s heart was simply crushed, but by the time she and Denise were finished talking and praying together, her face had lightened up, her countenance had changed, and it was evident that God had stirred hope in her heart for her family.

*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]

bookmark2I often think of how many church members come to church burdened by the cares of life. Perhaps the burdens they carry are due to finances, marriage, friendships, a problem at work, a child who is rebellious or who is running from God, a death in the family — the list of potential problems people face goes on and on.

It saddens me to think of the vast number of churchgoers who come into their church services feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders. These people wish that someone would help them or pray with them, but no one ever asks how they are doing. Never having an opportunity to tell anyone what is happening in their lives, they frequently leave a service just as burdened as they were when they first walked through the church doors.

Have you ever been so burdened by the cares of life that you thought you might be crushed by the weight of it all? Did you wish someone would crawl under that load and help you carry it? Perhaps you can remember times when you cried out to God, Please send someone to help me with these things that I’m dealing with in my life right now!

In Galatians 6:2, the apostle Paul tells us, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Answer this question: When are we supposed to help bear someone else’s burden?

The word “burden” in this verse comes from the Greek word baros. It refers to a weight that is heavy or crushing. In fact, the word baros describes such a crushing weight that Paul used this same word in Second Corinthians 1:8 when he wrote about the terrible problems he and his traveling companions underwent in Asia. Paul wrote that these difficulties were of such a stressful nature that the men literally felt as if they were “pressed out of measure.” In Second Corinthians 5:4, he used the word baros once more when he said, “…[We] do groan, being burdened….” Again, this word refers to a load so heavy that it causes a person to feel that he is burdened or weighed down.

The word baros could refer to either a physical or a spiritual problem. For instance, this type of pressing burden could be a habitual sin that has plagued you and weighed you down year after year. Satan may try to use these kinds of weaknesses and faults to hinder or completely abort God’s plan for your life. That’s why it’s so important that these “burdens” be dealt with and defeated. If you are unable to do it alone, you need to seek the help of others to pull you through to a place of victory.

The point Paul is making here is that when a fellow believer is under a crushing weight — when he is under so much pressure that he feels like he’ll break if someone doesn’t get under that load and help him carry it — it is our Christian responsibility to help bear his burden, “…and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

In Galatians 6:2, the Greek expresses the following:

“When someone is burdened by crushing cares and difficult events in life that are too much for one person to carry all by himself, crawl up under that burden and help that person carry it, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

I want to encourage you today to be sensitive to the needs of others who are around you. When you go to church, go to work, or even spend time with your family and friends, ask the Holy Spirit to help you see when people are carrying too much by themselves. If you discern that they are burdened, go to them and ask, How can I pray for you today? What is happening in your life?

God may use you to bring real relief and freedom into someone’s situation. Perhaps just providing a listening ear is all that is needed to help that person get through his or her dilemma.

On the other hand, if an overwhelming problem, weakness, habit, or sin is pressing down on your life, you need to be humble enough to say, Hey, I need someone to pray with me! This is too much for me to do completely by myself! It may be difficult for you to open your heart and reveal your need, but it will be far more difficult for you to carry it alone until you eventually become emotionally devastated by that burden.

As brothers and sisters in the Lord, we need to do everything we can to step deeply into people’s lives in order to encourage and refresh them spiritually and to help them get through their problems. When we see someone struggling, we must be bold enough to ask that person how we can help! When we work together as a Body in this way, every need will be addressed and met!

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My Prayer for Today

Lord, I am asking You to help me be sensitive to the needs of other people. Help me to stop being so self-consumed with my own concerns that I am negligent in recognizing the needs of people around me who need help and prayer. Holy Spirit, help me see through the masks people tend to wear to cover up what is really happening in their lives. Give me the wisdom to know how to approach people who need strength and encouragement.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

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My Confession for Today

I confess that I am sensitive to the needs of people who are around me. I see when they hurt; I recognize the times when they’re struggling; and I am a blessing to them in their time of need. God’s Spirit is helping me to become a better minister and servant to help meet the needs in other people’s lives. I am attentive, caring, and Christ-like in the way I deal with others. What Jesus does for me is what I am becoming to other people.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

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Questions to Answer

1. Have there been situations in your life when you thought you might break under the weight you were trying to carry by yourself? When that happened, did anyone come to you and ask how he or she might help or pray for your needs?

2. Have you ever gone to others to see how you could help them through the situations they were enduring? Or have you been too self-consumed to remember that other people have needs too?

3. Do you know of individuals you should check on today to see what you can do to help them through a situation they are facing? In what ways can you be a strength or an encouragement to them?