At the time of the writing of this letter to you there are approximately eight billion people on the planet, a number that is almost incomprehensive in its scope. Every one of these represents a soul created by God, made by our Lord to glorify His name, not every one of them does though. Beyond all the different religious organizations, the lost that have said in their hearts that there is no God, (Psalm 14:1) there are those who truly are the children of God, those who have accepted Christ as Savior.
How many that is only the Lord knows, but we do know that He knows each of us individually, and that is how we like to see ourselves, as set apart from all the others that inhabit this earth. I believe that to a degree that is correct, but there are certain similarities within the Scriptures that inform us that we are all basically the same. For instance, take a look at 1st Corinthians 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” I am fairly sure that most of you are quite familiar with this verse, in fact, it is many times one of the first memory verses for the new believer, for it is a promise.
Temptations are going to surround us until the day that we go home to glory, their purpose is to draw us away from a continuing walk with Christ, they are never seen as beneficial, but always detrimental in their influences upon us. It is our responsibility to find the way of escape that the Lord has provided, and then to bear these temptations. They may stay upon you for the entirety of your life, you must bear them, they will become a cross for you to carry, and we must carry it well. Not just for our own sakes though, but so that we can be in these temptations an effectual witness for the Lord and the power of His life in us. These can be an incredible burden for some, for they may be a lifelong cross to bear, the Lord does not say that He will remove the temptations, He says that a way out has been given to us so that we can bear them.
Some of these can be more than a little difficult, over time they can begin to drain us. We must remember that if we do not succumb to the temptation, then it has not become a sin to us, when we fall to them though, when we willingly surrender to them, then we must confess our sin in doing so, truly repent from them and we will be forgiven. (1st John 1:9) But those that we do not allow to draw us into the completion of the temptation, so to speak, are not just going to go away, they may here for the remainder of your life. These are not easily dealt with by some, and so we have also been given the Holy Spirit to assist us in what can be a lifelong battle, and I mean no offence to the Holy Spirit of God, but there are others who can also help, and therein lies the main topic of this letter to you, why don’t we seek help in these times from our brothers and sisters in Christ?
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2) There are nearly eight billion people on this planet, how many of them are born-again believers I do not know, but I do know this, that every single one of them has gone through or is going thru a temptation that is common to all of us, and many of them are bearing this burden alone. Why? That is the question, and the best answer that I have ever found is that it would be embarrassing to tell other believers about their temptations, when if you really give this statement any thought, is ridiculous in the extreme. We know that burdens come in many various forms, temptation is only one of them, we are commanded to bear each other’s burdens, and we have very little difficulty in doing so if we deem it as morally correct, if you will. Grief, sorrow, financial difficulties, and those of the like we are more than happy to assist our brothers and sisters in Christ with, but what about those that make us uncomfortable?
What about that sister that is having difficulty with the temptation of same sex attraction, the man who is slowly being drawn into the world of pornography, the teenager who is constantly being barraged by his peers to do those things that are not right in the sight of the Lord. Will these feel comfortable enough around you to come to you and ask for help in these areas, and will you be the man or woman of God that can help them to stand in these moments of temptation, to help them to carry the burden? There seems to be a double standard in the Christian community among many believers, “I will help you with this, but that one just makes me too uncomfortable, perhaps you should seek the pastors help with that one, it is after all his job.” It is not always the excuse that we have no reference point in our lives to assist them, remember, these temptations are common to all of us, too many just do not want to get involved, it is frightening to them, they are embarrassed within themselves because of the temptation of another. To even sit and listen to these brothers and sisters speak of the current temptation creates within them an unease that they simply do not want to deal with, and so by their own free will they have decided to deny the law of Christ.
Use any excuse you want within yourself; it will not stand up to the questioning that the Lord will ask you when this this incident in your life on that day that you will stand before Him is brought up. You were commanded to bear each other’s burdens, no matter what that burden was. There is no caveat that says only help them if you yourself have experienced this exact same temptation, there is nothing in this verse that says you get an out because what your fellow Christian was dealing with made you feel uncomfortable, you are to bear his burden with him, no excuses. This brings up the other side of the equation though, we are to ask for that assistance.
Embarrassment is again the key subject in this matter of bearing each other’s burdens, what if someone knew of the difficulty that I am going through, what will they think of me. Think on that statement for a moment, we are speaking of those who say that they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we are to love each other with the love of Christ, except when? When it is too embarrassing, when we begin to concern ourselves with what others will think of us if this temptation that is common to all of us is brought up to the congregation of believers. Why do you think that so many of these matters are brought up only in the privacy of the pastor’s office, because we are afraid of what others would think of us. I would be more concerned with what God would think of them for not being willing to listen, pray and help you through this period of temptation. It is a shallow church indeed that is not willing to help their fellow believers within it on the path that they are trying by the power of the Holy Spirit to walk upon, one that Satan is trying to hinder.
You are embarrassed to tell them, they are embarrassed to help, the vicious circle continues, most generally until the individual finally falls into the temptation, and then they are looked upon as one that should have been able to resist it. Makes a lot of sense, huh? Now we have one in our midst that is seeking for repentance and forgiveness within the church, because no one was willing to help them in the first place. Let me help you with something here my friends, embarrassment means that I do not trust you, it means that I believe that if I ask for your help you will either make fun of me, put me down as a sinner unrepentant, or perhaps at best make sure that this news is spread all over and distorted far beyond what is the truth. That is why many just seek out one of the leaders of the congregation, instead of standing up Sunday morning and informing the entire church that they need prayers and help in a certain temptation that is occurring in their lives, like they should be able to.
If we will not hold ourselves accountable to each other, we will constantly be wondering who else knows, we will hide from those who are to be helping us. If we are not willing to bear each other’s burdens as we are commanded to, then we are not being a brother to our fellow believers. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) Temptation does not become a fault, a sin, until we yield to it. If you are struggling, seek for help, if you know of someone that is carrying a burden that they need help with, go and help them. It is much better to suffer through the embarrassment than to stand in front of the congregation and ask for forgiveness for sins that could have been averted.
If you are not willing to seek for assistance, then your brothers in Christ will miss out on a blessing, if you are not willing to bear your brothers burdens with him, then who will, and what blessing may both of you miss out on. Why do you think that we are here together, to show up on Sunday, sings some songs and then repeat the pattern until our final day? These temptations are common to all of us, so we should all help each other, without regard for our own discomfort, with respect only to the assistance of our brother, with complete disregard for humiliation and shame. If we do not, we may be the next one that the Lord allows the same type of circumstances to happen to. Someone must start, someone needs to take the first step, all the rest of them can then be taken in love.