Welcome to Part 4 of this series on Walking in the Light. If you’ve missed the previous three articles, check out:
This fourth and final part of the series is all about bearing one another’s burdens, which is an absolutely essential component of true fellowship.
When we realize that we are the Body of Christ and that each person plays an integral role, we begin to take an interest in each other’s lives. When one person is struggling, the rest have an opportunity to reach out and restore them. And as Paul says, it should be done from the context of self-sacrifice, not seeking to please ourselves.
Romans 15:1-6–We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)
When believers enter into fellowship, something unique happens. They begin to see each other as the close-knit family that God intends for us to be. The needs of others become just as important as our own needs. It becomes impossible to sacrifice too much, because if I sacrifice to meet someone else’s needs, another Christian will sacrifice to meet my needs.
Furthermore, encouragement is essential to bearing one another’s burdens. Not only does it help strengthen the person to carry their own load of daily responsibilities, but it also draws our hearts closer together and enhances our unity.
When we consider the needs of others, we are simultaneously considering the needs of Christ. In fact, Paul puts a special emphasis on how we treat the Body of Christ.
Galatians 6:10–Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (NIV)
This means that if my Christian friend and my next-door neighbor have the same need, my Christian friend has priority.
So here’s the deal: Real fellowship is the byproduct of confessing sin to one another; living authentic Christian lives; celebrating our freedom in Christ through Communion; and bearing one another’s burdens through love, good deeds, friendship, and encouragement. In all these ways, we participate in the Body of Christ–expressing lives of worship, and genuinely engaging in Christian love.
While this concludes the four-part teaching on “Walking in the Light,” the larger series on Fellowship still needs to be wrapped up. In my next post, I’ll close this series on fellowship by talking about a new way of looking at “church life.” It may be an eye-opening topic for some of you, so be sure to take the time to read and digest that next post.