Paul wrote, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Too many of us have read this verse so often – and because we neither understand the depth nor practice obedience to the command – that this verse no longer impacts us as it should. The chief cause of our ignorance and disobedience is that we have grown accustomed, comfortable and complacent in the shallow, stagnant, superficial and artificial interactions with the others around us that we call “relationships.” But these occasional, brief, courteous, intrinsically deceptive encounters are the very thing which keep us from obeying this instruction for we cannot bear one another’s burdens unless we truly know one another.
One’s job or work may well be the greatest source whereby one learns to be superficial. An employee is generally expected to leave one’s personal life behind and focus on the task at hand. Getting one’s work done is thus quietly given a higher priority than the welfare and eternal destiny of one’s co-workers’ souls. In today’s work place, sharing the gospel of Christ can be grounds for dismissal and/or a lawsuit! “Relations” in the work place are to avoid personal levels and remain solely on “professional,” cordial levels. Some of this is of necessity and is appropriate but when this superficial way of inter-relating becomes our usual manner, we have become incapable of knowing what one another’s true burdens are – and we become completely incapable of bearing those burdens with them. Some people cannot even transfer this “professional politeness” and “courtesy” into their discussions with other believers, let alone be able to interact with genuine Christ-like agape love!
This superficiality is enhanced by hours of television in which the spirit is lulled to receive words, ideas and even philosophies from various wicked spirits who have operated behind the scenes to produce those programs with their various sins, bad fruit and self-serving agendas. The television is used to mesmerize and, at the least, to distract the true followers of Christ from the important good works God has for them to do. The unidirectional focus of the television further participates in crippling the viewer (particularly the habitual, long time viewer) in his ability to interact with other human beings on any levels of depth. Again, this renders him incapable of bearing any other’s burdens.
This superficiality, ingrained from so many sources, is raised to an art form at the mega-“church” and is difficult to overcome even in a Spirit-led home fellowship. At the mega-“church,” members are quickly herded in and out of a large lecture hall (often mislabeled the “sanctuary”) where they will sing a few songs, perhaps greet the persons around them for a few seconds and listen to a lecture that comes (often without Spirit-given inspiration and instruction) from some portion of the Bible. All this is mislabeled “fellowship” and horrendous warnings are given to those who might become bored or dissatisfied and wish to forsake this “fellowship” the “church” offers. Even when teams of committed followers join together for a missions trip, upon the return home, the team, which was expected to function in the unity of the Spirit while overseas, simply evaporates as everyone is now expected to quietly return to their pews and quietly go their own separate ways. Whose kingdom is being built here?
Bearing one another’s burdens is how we fulfill the law or commands of Christ to love one another in action and not with mere words (that is, superficiality and duplicity). How can those who neglect and refuse to obey Christ hope to experience the rewards of His salvation? There is simply no way that those who practice a fleshly imitation of godliness can hope to inherit His kingdom.
Let he who has ears hear.
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