“For every man shall bear his own burden”
There are many types of burdens in this life. Paul in this chapter of scripture illustrates two types, both of which are essential in the life of His own. The one quoted above concerns our own burden, it is a burden of life and of responsibility. This is a God-given one, which is ours to bear in faithfulness unto Him.
Paul knew of this burden personally and spoke of it in every epistle. It was a burden borne of the love of God.
“In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”
2 Corinthians 11:28
The burdens of the Lord pulsate with power and love. It is love that produces the burdens of the Spirit. When one cares for the life and well-being of another there is a wonder in it and a blessing to receive in our faithfulness to the call of God.
The unconcerned, the distant ones from the heart of God carry burdens that are selfish in nature and there will be no Paraclete (Greek: παράκλητος) to carry or be yoked to such. The burdens of Christ within an individual’s life are His burdens being shared with them. They are born of love, carried in love, and are filled with His presence. They can bring us to depths of prayer and intercession and straightness of spirit but there is always a dominion of peace within their garments.
The greater the self-less love of God that dwells within us the burdens of Him will be of equal weight. To go through this life without knowing the cry of the Lord for others is to miss out on the joy of being in Him.
No one can hold the love of God in their hearts and not know of His burden for others. If Christ the great intercessor for His people is ever offering prayers on our behalf and if we are in Him and He is in us then it would be incongruous to not know of His heart.
“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
1 John 2:6
“Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart!”
There is an endearing ministration to those who walk closely with the Lord; wonders and mercies through the bonds of relationship. As we draw near to Him, we touch unspeakable aspects of His glory that are beyond the thoughts of men. Life, His Life, cannot be assimilated by the natural mind for God is beyond comprehension. Who can truly understand the mystery of a beating heart, the unfolding of a flower, or the intricacies of a relationship between a husband and wife? These are things we can see, feel, and appreciate for their simple beauty, but to try and understand them intellectually is folly. The enablement to see the growing dynamic of God, His Life, and His Wisdom, requires faith and surrender to His work in us.
“In thy light shall we see light”
It requires the Christ within to enable us to “see” the Father as He is.
“All things were yielded up to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and the one to whom the Son purposes to reveal Him.”
Jesus is the lens through which we behold the Father. He alone can impart to us the substance and being of all God is. Our depth of abiding will determine our knowledge of Him as He is. Jesus spoke parables to the masses (God’s own people; John 1:11), but His own disciples he would take aside and expound to them precious truths through the intimacy of friendship.
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant, does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
What was the vital truth which precipitated this transition from unknowing servants to friendship with the Son?
“You are my friends if you DO what I command you.”
Obedience is the highest expression of Love. The summation of the Life of the Son in the earth can be bound up in one culminating crescendo of love.
“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”
The Holy-Spirit inspired scriptures go on to describe the effects of that Divine Will on our lives.
“By the which Will we are sanctified…”
Hebrews 10:10 (capitalization my own)
True sanctification will always be to the measure that His Will becomes our own. Those who are truly His, pursue one thing; full conformity and union with the purpose of the Son. “Lo, I come to do Thy will”.
“Then Jesus answered them and said, My teaching is not mine in origin but belongs to the One who sent me. If anyone is desiring to be doing His will, he shall know experientially concerning the teaching…”
John 7:16-17 (Wuest)
True disciples do not initiate their own doctrine. They read His Word with the eyes and the heart of a little child; what the word declares they believe. They make no allowances for self which always seeks to justify its aberrations from its purity. They seek earnestly and fervently for faith and grace to see their lives conformed to its truth. They understand that the same Spirit through which the Word became flesh in the Son has been given to work that same devotion to the Will of the Father in us.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 3:18
Why is the ministration of the Spirit of God-given? To change us “into the same image”; the same likeness and demeanor which characterized the Son.
“Lo, I come to do Thy will”
The full revelation of Grace is expressed in our obedience to the Will of the Father.
“through whom we received grace and apostleship in order that there may be obedience to the Faith…” Romans 1:5 (Wuest)
“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.”
1 Corinthians 9:16-17
“But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” Jeremiah 20:9
“When a man is filled with the Word of God you cannot keep him still, If a man has got the Word, he must speak or die”
– Dwight L. Moody
“I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry,
but that you were made sorry to repentance” 2 Corinthians 7:9
Godly sorrow is the fruit of godly ministry. The truth of God connects our everyday walk with our future inheritance. The man who buried his talent in the ground determined his future inheritance in God. The one who built their house by hearing (without doing) the future collapse was the result of his present error. To give in to temptation today may determine bondage and sorrow in our future.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death or of obedience unto righteousness?”
The greatest gift of God to us is the gift of repentance. It frees the heart, destroys condemnation and its riches are filled with goodness, mercy, and peace in our Saviours’ love.
It is a good example for us to consider the construct of the Hebrew Language in order for us to understand the connection between our present doings and our future inheritance.
Hebrew understandings of Tense and Time
Unlike today, the very construct of the Hebrew language when all the tenses are simplified essentially consisted of two tenses; past and future where the future tense incorporates the present.
[“In the Bible there are only two tenses… yes, only two (ken, rak shnaim,) past and future. There is no (ein) present tense in the Bible!”Yaron-Lessons in Hebrew]
How we have lost this critical truth in God! The Ancient Hebrew language was the only language that evolved through God’s dealings with them. Their whole history was determined by their relationship with God. If they departed from His truths and His ways they experienced judgment, captivity, and futility and if they walked with Him blessings and prosperity graced their nation. Because of this vital concept, they understood that their present doings determined their future; they did not compartmentalize present things from future realities. It is this powerful concept which conveyed to them the healthy fear of the Lord causing them to weigh their present actions with tomorrow’s outcome. Without this linkage, there is no true ability to understand God Himself.
We live in a day and speak in a language where past, present, and future tenses have no connection. This ethos has invaded the Church, its gospel, and its understanding of God; for of a truth, our presentation of Him is the reflection of our understanding of Him. A gospel that separates my present walk from any future implications robs His people from “walking circumspectly” before the Lord. Forgiveness has become the panacea for unholy living. Not long ago in my personal time with God, He impressed upon me a powerful truth “An individual’s concept of sin reveals their estimation of God”. Where sin is treated lightly it is because God is lightly esteemed. Repentance and godly sorrow are the hallmarks of a life growing in the wonder and the dynamic of God. Wherever and whenever the ministry of God fails to present God as He is “godly sorrow” is lacking and men and women walk in a salvation filled with regrets and sub-standard living.
“I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly way, that you might suffer loss by us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, which brings no regret…”
2 Corinthians 7:9-10
Whenever God is lightly esteemed sin will abound. Paul in his presentation of grace in his Epistle to the Romans declares “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid” (Romans 6:1-2). When grace is taught in an unrighteous manner where the stain and the contagion of sin have been compromised the Light of God is dimmed and the rampant culture of decay and lawlessness will lay hold of His church and correspondingly a nation will fall in its own folly.
“Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.”
Proverbs 10:23 (ESV)
Another translation says…
“It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.”
Proverbs 10:23 (KJV)
Where sin and evil are treated lightly, wisdom and understanding are marginalized and the result will be chaos and lawlessness. This is true whether it be in our own personal life, the family unit, or the household of God.
The true ministration of Christ brings us to godly sorrow, repentance, and the joy of His salvation.
(Unedited excerpt from coming book, comments welcome)
“And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation”
Truth is simply the manifestation of the Life of Christ. His unrelenting quest within each of us is for purity and perfection. He does not spare His Own from His piercing gaze as He searches our hearts with the divine flame of His Love. His Word is living and sharp. Its cutting seeks to free us from that self that cannot and will not submit to God.
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”
Our hearts are revealed in our openness to receive exhortation. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews pleads with us to “suffer the word of exhortation” to the end we may walk a life that is pleasing to God. Truth must expose within us all that is not of Him. Being the perfect manifestation of all that is true, He has great love and determination to change us from “glory to glory”. While many readily receive His forgiveness, the real test is in our receiving that Living Truth which pierces even to the dividing of our “soul and spirit”.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”
Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)
Those who bear His Word must know that work within themselves. Only In becoming free from self, with all its devious and corrupting ways, will we be able to communicate to others that same word of exhortation. A word of exhortation can only be received by those who because of their love of truth suffer its liberating ministration of life.
May we all hear the “beseeching” of the Spirit of God to embrace His Word. To love truth is to receive His corrections and the pruning of His two-edged sword.
“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights”
“For whom the LORD loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives”
The true in heart desire correction. They know within their own being the necessity to receive His reproofs and exhortations. The passion to become true outweighs the tendency to hide from His probing gaze. Many love the promises of God but few are willing to endure the correction necessary for His promises to come to fulfillment in them.
“If you endure discipline, God bears Himself to you as to sons”
It is in the crucible of correction that the true in heart reveal their sonship and love for their heavenly Father.
“Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it”
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body”
1 Corinthians 12:13
By One Spirit
“And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you”
1 Corinthians 12:21
Anyone with a vital, living relationship with the Head (Christ Himself) cannot say: “I have no need of thee”! Only those who live independently, disassociated from the Law of Life, can say “I have no need of thee”. If the eye is not intrinsically attached to the Head, it has no sense of its relationship to the rest of the Body of Christ. There is an inherent blindness that will isolate and insulate that one from the wonder of His Life.
A disconnected member has no divine enablement to “feel” the heartbeat of the body. “I have no need of thee” is a revelation of one’s true spiritual condition. The deeper our union with Him, the deeper will be a corresponding desire for a relationship with all others who share this common heartbeat. The power of His Life breaks asunder the carnal bonds of denominations, closed and isolated fellowships, and disconnected cliques.
Pride, unforgiveness, envy, jealousy, and the desire for preeminence, will sever the bonds with Him who is the life, the heart, and the author of peace.
“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all”
The only means through which we can be ONE Body is by living in the ONE Spirit. To be outside the Life of the ONE Spirit is to be alienated from the ONE Body. Doctrines, teachings, and religious dogmas have nothing to do with this ONENESS. Those who live in Christ do not compromise truth for oneness because the Spirit of Truth pulsates within. They know the truth, the truth (Christ Himself) lives within, and He alone produces unity in hearts that can never declare “I have no need of thee”.
“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death”
1 John 3:14
The authenticity of our relationship with Him who is THE LIFE is revealed in our love and concern for our brothers and sisters. It is the carnal, the disconnected who are oblivious to this truth.
“By the figure of the vine and the branches, Christ illustrated not only the relation that should exist between him and his followers but also the union between every believer and his fellow believer. The branches of the vine are related to each other, but they are not alike. Each has its own individuality, which cannot be merged into that of another, but all have a special connection with each other. The root that supplies nourishment to one branch supplies nourishment to every other branch. Each must depend alike on the vine for sustenance; all must be joined to the parent stalk. The life and growth and fruitfulness of each depend alike on the parent vine. In obedience to the laws of nature, their common hold of the true vine make them one; in their diversity there is unity.”
“Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”
God’s Word is not only an expression of Him – but it is also anextension of Himself. He is His Word and His Word is Himself (John 1:1). In both the Old and New Testament we read that our God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24, Hebrews 12:29). Those who bear His Living Word within will know the truth of this in the corresponding measure of their walk. His Word is the very expression of His Nature, His Thoughts, and His Ways. Words without fire are words without unction. Men cannot touch His Presence and remain unaffected, apathetic, and unconcerned about His inheritance in the earth. His presence is fire and glory. His zeal for His House (Psalm 119:139, John 2:17) in the earth is a consuming fire within the hearts of those who have His Word.
This fire consumes and purifies those who bear it to speak with an intensity to all who would hear. This fire cannot be quenched, compromised, or contaminated by the tepidity of religious men who desire something less than God Himself. It is antagonistic to the stagnant, and to those who are complacent in their approach to God. To those who desire to walk and live within the presence of a Holy God, it is the necessity of life. It is the work of God to bring His people to such expressions.
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire“
“But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones”
Strong meat belongs to YOU and the way you receive that strong meat is by having your senses exercised to discern between the teachings of men and the teachings of the Spirit. We must walk in the Spirit of truth in order to discern the difference between what men teach and what the Spirit teaches.
Truth is the greatest blessing, but it comes with great accountability. Any truth that is not walked in, any truth that doesn’t exert its power in my heart, I am accountable for that. It’s critical the things we hear, but it is more critical what we DO with what we hear! The more God communicates His truth to you the more He requires you to walk in it.
“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required”
These are small group bible studies given with the great hope that a new generation will arise with the Fire of God burning within their hearts and that they may shine with the very light and life of Christ Himself.
Jesus felt no compulsion to answer this rhetorical and ostentatious question of Pilate. Nor does He respond to those today whose ideas of truth lie only in statements and confessions. Without a living relationship with Christ, truth is merely an opinion, a belief, or a concept born of predispositions or persuasions. There is nothing concrete or absolute in its origin. Some believe one thing; some believe another thing. If truth is simply esoteric in nature and exists only in intellectual assumptions, then the philosophical question “What is Truth?” bears testimony to a lost humanity declaring its own existence as futile and vain. The span of time “lived” between birth and death is inconsequential. Death is merely the end of a consciousness that evaporates into oblivion. Feelings, relationships, and the myriad of human experiences have no real value or meaning.
The comforts of religion are that it assuages the torment of this thought by providing an antidote of belief; somehow the belief itself will mitigate my wrongness and assure me of a noble end. Rather than seeing the need for repentance and change, my rightness is based on an affirmation. Religion dissipates the gnawing and persistent desire to answer this question in earnest. The belief alleviates the need for a definitive answer. It makes me think that if I believe right, I will personally be right regardless of the life I live. The deception is that I can profess to have truth without the need to become true.
This is the ethos of much of the Christian landscape today. There is an insidious concept that I can be disobedient to the teachings of Christ without any ramifications to my eternal standing with God. I can claim to be in the right relationship with Him and yet disregard my accountability to Him. I believe a truth without it becoming true in my own experience. Consider forgiveness… (for example)
“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father, who is in heaven, may also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.”
To claim Him as my Lord and deny my brother or sister forgiveness is hypocrisy. How many of us hold on to unforgiveness and yet pray to Him without any thought to the ramifications of our standing before God?
Jesus is our only truth; His Life within me, changing me, convicting me, and transforming my behaviour. Profession without the corresponding life to validate it is deception.
“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous”
1 John 3:7
Let no man deceive us. Let us not deceive ourselves. Mere belief does not change an unrighteous life. Jesus came into our hearts to free us FROM our sin; not to allow us to remain IN our sin.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid!”
Paul asks this incredulous question. It is an absurdity to him that it would even enter the minds of those who have truly experienced the power of Christ within.
“If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him”
1 John 2:29
God’s people to a large extent know little of God’s righteousness. This scripture only has power in those who understand “He is Righteous”. To those who know of this truth, sin is an offense to God. It is something that produces a holy war within our own being, something with which we cannot compromise. Its presence is a revelation that a portion of our life is still not fully His. Those who walk in the truth of Christ are convicted, in contrast to those who base their standing with God on a confession.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”
Quoting scriptures, believing in the correct theology, and subscribing to sound doctrine will not free you or me from the power of sin and disobedience. The truth of which Jesus speaks is a power and a dynamic extension of His Life working within the recesses of our being. Jesus presents Himself as the truth; not knowing about Him, but He Himself. Our hope is not based on what we believe. Our hope is in Him living and ruling within, changing the very fabric of our being. Paul presents this truth unequivocally to us.
“Christ IN you the hope of glory”
“…in our day Christ as the truth has… been abolished: we take Christ’s teaching – but abolish Christ. We want truth the easy way. This is to abolish truth, for Christ, the teacher is more important than the teaching… Truth is not a sum of statements, not a definition, not a system of concepts, but a life. Truth is not a property of thought that guarantees validity to thinking. No, truth in its most essential character is the reduplication of truth within yourself… Your life expresses the truth in the striving… The Gospel says that this is eternal life, to know the only true God and the One Whom He sent, the Truth (Jn. 17:3).”
– Soren Kierkegaard
“In Him was life; and the life was the light of men