Galatiansby Khan Hui Neon
What does it mean to march under the Spirit's command? Does it mean daily prayer and Bible reading, church attendance on Sunday, or becoming a career Christian worker?
While these are good things in and of themselves, Paul defines it differently. First, he deals with what it is not: self-centredness or pride, leading to provocation and envy (Galatians 5:26). Then, he shows us what it is: support and help for one another in the gentle spirit of Christ (6:1). Selfishness has no place in the liberty of Christ. So, instead of focusing on ourselves, those ″who live by the Spirit″ must look out for one another, helping each other stay on track (v. 1). To the question, ″How do we know we are walking by the Spirit?″, the answer is: ″You will know because you will have the readiness to help those who have fallen by the wayside (sinned), as Christ would have done.″
However, Paul warns, don't let your readiness to help be exploited by the flesh, turning it into an occasion for self-righteousness. Be aware of your own vulnerability to sinning, he says: ″Watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted″ (v. 1).
Paul next points out a telling characteristic of the community of faith: mutual support (v. 2). This is the blessedness of being Christ's church: no one is left behind to fend for themselves, bearing their burden alone. When we help one another, Paul says, we are fulfilling the law of Christ. But wait a minute, didn't Paul just say that we are freed from the law? The law of Christ, however, is different. It is not about outward observation of rules and regulations, and enforcements with penalties. Rather, it is about helping the brethren, an inner desire created by the Spirit. Hence, as recipients of God's love and care, we have a mutual obligation (law) to care for one another. No believer is exempt.
But what happens if someone refuses to do so, thinking, ″I can handle my own burden, and others can handle theirs too″? Is there a necessity for mutual support? Paul says our refusal is an indication that we are deceiving ourselves (v. 3). No one is self-sufficient and we are supportive of others because we understand the need for support for ourselves. So, stop thinking too highly of yourselves.
How, then, should we evaluate ourselves? In verse 4, Paul suggests that we diligently and continually test our own actions. This must be based on God's Word and the Spirit's prompting. The more accurate we are in assessing ourselves, the clearer we are as to our spiritual condition; and if it shows progress, we can take pride in it alone-without comparing ourselves to others-for it is God who made it possible.
Our duty, then, is to see to our own lives and ministry to others (v. 5). Marching under the Spirit's command means fulfilling the law of Christ, which in practical terms means mutual help and support for one another.
How do we help fellow believers bear their burdens in a gentle and loving manner, without downplaying the seriousness of sin or being arrogant ourselves?
Think of some practical steps you can take to express love and support for your fellow Christians.