Day 18

Carry One Another’s Burdens

from the Galatians reading plan

Galatians 6:1-10, Hosea 10:12, John 15:9-17, James 2:14-26

BY Rebecca Faires

September is a busy month for all of us. In my neck of the woods we’re packing, renovating, homeschooling, working—and I’m still nursing a baby. You may also be experiencing a season like this right now. When I’m busy, it’s harder for me to deal tenderly with everyone else’s particular struggles. It feels like quite enough to manage my own burdens without even entering into the burdens of someone else.

But God has entrusted us with precious souls. Our friends, our parents, our children, our spouses—anyone the Lord brings before us—we are called to deal tenderly with each other. There is a huge cultural impulse toward “self-care,” but this is not what we as Christians are called to focus on. We are called to bear one another’s burdens, to walk alongside each other on this faith journey. We are called to focus on the Lord and care for others. Even when we’re busy. Even when the burdens of others seem inconvenient. Even when we really, really just want to push them away.

Fortunately, Paul delivers some practical direction for us. He shows what walking by the Spirit looks like in some very common and practical circumstances. His first instruction: deal tenderly with those overtaken in wrongdoing (v.1). To be overtaken in wrongdoing is to be caught by temptation and then falter. This is very different from someone who has chosen to deliberately walk in sin, willfully pursuing it. In order to love others well, we need to remember our own sinfulness and God’s grace to us. Yes, sin must be treated as sin, but always in the spirit of love, and in light of God’s forgiveness and constant love for us.

And then we must make the way home easy, restoring them with a gentle spirit, responding in love rather than in wrath and fury. Remember the parable of the Prodigal Son? (Luke 15:11–32). We ought to make the way home easy, welcoming them, celebrating and rejoicing because what once “was lost [has been] found” (v.32).

It’s far too easy to deal with other people’s sins, well… sinfully. Ironic, huh? But knowing full well the battle between flesh and Spirit that actively wars within each one of us (Galatians 5:17), we ought to show mercy and tenderness toward those who stumble, because we, too, live only by the tender mercy of God. Apart from His grace, none of us could stand before Him.

Paul’s second instruction is to carry one another’s burdens, both the circumstantial burdens of this life, like finances, food, and shelter, and also the burdens of sin and temptation. We are to be a strengthening influence for our fellow sojourners in the faith—succor in time of need, encouragement in time of weakness, support in times of faltering. “In this way,” Paul declares, “[we] will fulfill the law of Christ” (v.2).

Wow. What a statement. We like to make sure our neighbors are dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s, instead of seeking ways to love and serve them as Christ has loved and served us—as a humble servant, laying down His life in love for us. May we learn to follow the pattern of Christ, not in duty, but in love. In this way, we will not tire of doing good, but will reap the fruit of faithful love in the communion of the saints (Hosea 10:12).

Post Comments (35)

35 thoughts on "Carry One Another’s Burdens"

  1. Lauren G says:

    This is incredibly timely for me right now. I am temporarily a single parent while my husband is deployed. Our days feel rushed and harried and my daughter has had a lot more emotional needs than normal as she misses her dad. I’m emotionally and physically strained and have not had amazing patience with her. Even as I’m trying to have a few moments to myself at the end of the day reading this devotional, I keep getting interrupted as she cries out to me that she is scared to sleep alone. It helps to change my perspective that this is what God has called me to and knowing that that will produce fruit (and trusting a God will sustain me in the meanwhile!)

    1. Dona Bell says:

      Lauren, my heart goes out to your family in your husband’s deployment. Thank you so much for your service – because your whole family serves our country! May God bless you and ease your burdens! Love you, sister!

  2. Paige Estess says:

    This devotional sits heavy on my heart because I constantly feel like I don’t know what I can do to help my loved ones. At times I feel helpless and just hope that their problems resolve themselves, but now in a new perspective there’s so much I can do. I need to carry their burdens with me and “lighten their load”.

  3. Jennifer Anapol says:

    Being a new mom has really put the command of laying down your life for your friends in a new perspective. I lay down my life, my agenda, my desires, and my needs for my daughters every day. I pray the Lord would give me the strength to love her well and take this lesson that she has taught me and lay down my life for others around me.

  4. Mari V says:

    Today’s devotional really resonated with me. I do my best to start giving back especially when others have given so much to me. But sometimes my flesh just doesn’t want to. I feel convicted. Especially when it’s not convenient. But I really like what Rebecca had to say today: “ We are call to focus on the Lord and care for others.” “Even when we’re busy.” And even when it’s inconvenient and we really want to push them away. This sounds like me at times. I need to switch my focus and remember how far I come because “others” gave up “their” time. And who knows it may have been inconvenient for them as well. But they were obedient to what God had called them to do.

  5. Melissa Graves says:

    Thank you, dear friends, for sharing glimpses of your lives today. I too, have been in a period of more intense burden bearing and prayer for the past year or so. We give care to my elderly in laws and it is not for the faint of heart. Doing it well requires no less than God’s Spirit living through us on a moment by moment basis, which is exactly what He promises to do…IF I LET HIM. So letting Him empower me is key. That is my number one take away. My number two take away today is that I need to read Lisa Terkeurst’s book which Angie referred to. Thank you ladies. Your words have encouraged me to continue to fight the good fight of faith. Grace and peace to you all.

  6. Ashley P. says:

    I could use some godly advice and wisdom if any of you ladies are willing to give it. I have a coworker who was a really good friend of mine. About 9 months ago, she took up a new hobby that itself is innocent, but put her in situations with lots of men. She’s a married mother of 2 and not a Christian. She began spending more and more of her time in this hobby, (very) late nights out with her family at home and she with guys (and alcohol is often involved). At least one of whom showed interest in her (who she told she’s married and not interested him, yet still spends time with him and texts him…) and another I believe she is interested in. She has grown apart from me because she knows I believe it’s wrong and she doesn’t want to be judged. She keeps a lot of secrets from me now and tells me things vaguely (not using names or specifics). I’m so worried about her. And I don’t know what to do, besides pray. I think her heart is really hard and set on her lifestyle right now. I want so much to shake her and tell her what she’s doing is so destructive! But I don’t know that that’d do good or be the right course of action. Usually when we talk now we avoid her lifestyle altogether and talk about neutral things. Do any of you have any thoughts on what, if anything, I should do?

    1. Melissa Graves says:

      Ashley P., what a loving and concerned friend you are. It sounds as though you have spoken the truth in love to her and she understands your perspective on the destructive choices she is making. You are currently doing all you can do by continuing to pray for her and being available to support her. I would specifically pray that the Lord would draw her to Himself and would remove the blinders from her eyes so that she can see for herself how destructive her choices have been. God is better able to intervene than we realize and He is able to orchestrate circumstances that will serve to jolt her into the reality of this situation so that she is open to His help and your advice. Keep praying!

    2. GramsieSue . says:

      Oh Ashley, she is playing with fire. I will join you in praying for her and praying for wisdom for you as well. It is so hard to talk to someone who has hardened their heart towards what they know is right. And I have no words to give you. Praying that God gives you the words you need.

    3. Bessie H says:

      Ashley, I am praying for you in this difficult situation. It is so very hard to see someone we love going in a destructive direction. My husband is a coach and works with people who are in very difficult situations, many from personal choices. What he has taught me is that we cannot ‘fix’ people. Even though we love them and desire the best for them, it is their choice.
      I wonder at those times how God must feel when He sees us going off in the wrong direction with hardened hearts. His heart must ache for what He knows is surely going to end in pain. Yet, He has given us free choice and lets us go and waits patiently hoping for our return.
      I agree with the others who have said that all you can do is pray and be there to support her.
      Just love her and try to be a safe place for her to fall.

      1. Melissa Graves says:


    4. Ashley P. says:

      Thank you all for your thoughts, encouragement, and prayers. It’s good for me to remember that I can’t “fix” her, but it’s so hard! I’ll keep praying for her, and for God to lead me whether it be on the sidelines or to have the right words at the right time.

  7. Savannah Gilmore says:

    This was a beautiful reminder of what we should be doing despite busy lives! Loving others and helping them with their burdens is a pivotal way to bring others to Christ or help their relationship with Him grow…. it also helps ours!

    1. Jennifer Anapol says:


  8. Kathy says:

    Churchmouse and Sharon, please know that you are being lifted before the throne today. As your sister in Christ, I will share your burdens by praying for you. If I could be with you physically I would offer my presence to walk alongside you in this season. Thank you for your words this morning.

    1. Sharon Smith says:

      Kathy~ I thank you deeply. I appreciate the words and prayers spoken and written in this space . Lifting you up in my prayers, as well

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