The Law of Christ.
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2 NLT
Our freedom from the law does not give us license to live according to our own standard. It is not freedom to live and do as we wish. Paul uses this last section of his letter to let his readers know that their behavior to change. They were to live differently than they had before. But it was not simply behavior modification brought about by mere human effort. It was to be the result of the Spirit’s presence and work in them. Rather than living selfishly and self-absorbed, they were to love sacrificially and selflessly. They were to care about the sins of one another, not in order to point fingers and make themselves feel better about their own righteousness, but in order to restore that brother or sister. Paul told them they were to “share each other’s burdens.” When they did, they would be obeying a different law altogether, the law of Christ. His is a law of love, of selfless sacrifice, that requires us to put others ahead of ourselves, rather than compete with them in order to get ahead. John Piper describes the law of Christ this way: “But when Christ summons us to obey his law of love, he offers us himself to slay the dragon of our pride, change our hearts, empower us by his Spirit, and fulfill his law.” The old law could not change our heart, it could merely alter our behavior, but never perfectly or completely. The law of Christ is driven by love and is focused on changing our heart and modifying our behavior from the inside out.
Paul tells us, “If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important” (Galatians 6:5 NLT). This had been a theme of Jesus when He walked this earth during the three and a half years of His ministry. He was constantly teaching His disciples that life in His Kingdom was about placing the needs of others ahead of your own. It was about service, not being served. It was putting others first and ourselves last. It was about life within a community, not self-centered individuality. “Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone – especially to those in the family of faith” (Galatians 6:10 NLT). Doing good to others. Loving others. That is the nature of life within the body of Christ. It is about caring and community. It is about the fruit of the Spirit being produced in our lives for the benefit of others, not ourselves. We are being transformed by Christ in order that we might be agents of transformation in the lives of one another. We are to love others as He has loved us – selflessly and sacrificially. We are to be instruments of change in the Redeemer’s hands. As He works in us, He will use us to love the lost and lift up our brothers and sisters in Christ. But the antithesis of the law of Christ is the lure of pride. We are constantly battling our own selfish desire to make it all about ourselves. But Jesus gave us the greatest commandment when He said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40 NLT). Love God. Love others. And God has given us His Spirit to make it possible. So we have no reason to brag or be boastful. It is His love in us flowing through us and influencing those around us.
Father, I want to fulfill the law of Christ. I want to love as He loved. I want my life to be marked by selflessness, not selfishness. I want to lift the burdens of others, but sometimes I can become too consumed with my own cares and concerns. Help me to learn to take the focus off of me and place it where it belongs on others. Help me to understand that your fruit, produced by Your Spirit in my life, is not for me but for others. Give me a growing desire to give my life away. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men