SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY (December 15, 2013)
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load. 6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches” Galatians 6:1-6.
“CARRY EACH OTHER’S BURDENS AND IN THIS WAY YOU WILL FULFILL THE LAW OF CHRIST” Galatians 6:2.
We have been looking at Apostle Paul’s exhortations for good Christian living from Galatians chapter six. In the previous edition, we considered the need to avoid boasting in what we have been blessed with as if we earned them by our own deeds. The point was made that our spiritual gifts, talents, wealth all comes from the Lord. Therefore we should use them to glorify God rather than looking down upon others because of what we have been blessed with. We should also remember that whatever we have been blessed with is for the benefit of others. God blesses us in order that he might bless others through us. We should not think highly of ourselves as if we are able to do anything without Christ. If we do that we are deceiving ourselves.
Right after mentioning that believers should not think of being something while indeed we are nothing without him, the Apostle Paul continued his exhortation to believers in Galatians 6:4 as follows:
“EACH ONE SHOULD TEST HIS OWN ACTIONS. THEN HE CAN PRIDE IN HIMSELF, WITHOUT COMPARING HIMSELF WITH SOMEBODY ELSE.”
This is what we want to consider in this edition. It is very important to begin by asking what Paul meant by testing one’s own actions? Why is it even necessary to test one’s own actions? It is important to note right from here that Paul was talking about self-examination. This is a continuation of what he said in verse 3 that we should not think we are something when we are nothing. Normally people look at themselves and feel that they are better than others and then begin to boast as if they got to where they are by their own merit. To avoid evil pride, Paul is exhorting us to move towards righteous pride by evaluating our actions without comparing ourselves with others. Paul’s exhortation to test ourselves is in line what he said in 2 Corinthians 13:5a.
“… EXAMINE YOURSELVES TO SEE WHETHER YOU ARE IN THE FAITH; TEST YOURSELVES.”
So Paul is talking about believers evaluating our own actions on daily and minute by minute basis to see whether we are still in the faith and that we have not wandered away from the faith. This involves a thorough examination of everything we do from morning to evening on daily basis. We need to test ourselves to find out whether what we said from morning to evening brought glory to God. Self-examination of our actions will help us to ask whether the kind of songs we sung or the books we read or the movies we watched glorified God. If we are pre-occupied with what we need to do or did not do to glorify God, we shall have no time to compare ourselves with others.
In trying to examine ourselves, our ONLY standard MUST always be the BIBLE and our ONLY example must be CHRIST. This is important because the Bible, the word of God, is the only way by which we can know what is good or wrong. It is the light and lamp in our daily walk with God. Without the Bible we become like ships without compasses or horses without rudders. We shall become directionless without the Bible. Those who do not walk according to the word of God are blind; they are living -dead. The Psalmist realized the importance of the word of God and confessed:
“YOUR WORD IS A LAMP FOR MY FEET, A LIGHT ON MY PATH” Psalm 119:105.
“HOW CAN A YOUNG PERSON STAY ON THE PATH OF PURITY? BY LIVING ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD” Psalm 119:9.
“I GAIN UNDERSTANDING FROM YOUR PRECEPTS; THEREFORE I HATE EVERY WRONG PATH” Psalm 119:104.
In Proverbs, we also find:
“FOR THIS COMMAND IS A LAMP, THIS TEACHING IS A LIGHT, AND CORRECTION AND INSTRUCTION ARE THE WAY TO LIFE” Proverbs 6:23.
All the above Bible passages and many more others show that God’s word is what we need in testing ourselves in the faith. It is through God’s word that we can know whether our actions are acceptable before the Lord or not. If we use any other human standard apart from God’s word, we shall fail.
Apart from ensuring that our actions are in line with God’s word, we also need to follow the example set for us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Apostle Peter tells us that Christ is our example in suffering:
“TO THIS YOU WERE CALLED, BECAUSE CHRIST SUFFERED FOR YOU, LEAVING YOU AN EXAMPLE, THAT YOU SHOULD FOLLOW IN HIS STEPS” 1 Peter 2:21.
Apart from the area of suffering mentioned by Peter, Paul also said in Philippians 2:5 (NLT):
“YOU MUST HAVE THE SAME ATTITUDE THAT CHRIST JESUS HAD.”
Attitude encompasses a whole lifestyle. It implies that in everything we do, we MUST have the same attitude as Christ Jesus. Indeed Jesus MUST be our only model for good Christian living. We should NOT compare ourselves with others and feel we are better than others. We Must ‘compare’ ourselves to Christ to find out whether we are meeting the EXAMPLE set for us. If we do THAT, we shall have no need to boast or look down upon others because Christ is our only model, not men.
It is however important to note that even though we are not supposed to boast as if we are able to do anything by ourselves, we take pride and rejoice when we examine ourselves and know that we are walking in line with God’s word and following the example set for us by Christ. This is righteous pride. We can pride ourselves by rejoicing in the fact that we have been truly saved not by ourselves but God through Christ. We can rejoice over the fact that the Holy Spirit is helping us to overcome sin and winning the battle against Satan. This pride does not result from comparing ourselves with others which will become evil pride. We can rejoice in the Lord and ask him to continue helping us to walk righteously before him. This is what Paul is teaching us here in Galatians 6:4. May we continually live with the desire to walk according to God’s word and the passion to follow the example set for us by Christ rather than comparing ourselves with fellow human beings!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 7
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 6
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 4
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 3
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 2
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 1
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.