Paul's list of the fruit of the Spirit stands as an example of the virtues that should characterize the believer's life. We now come to the final chapter of Galatians.
Galatians 6:1-5 (KJV)
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
For every man shall bear his own burden.
Paul began this section of Galatians with an example. A member of the believing fellowship has fallen into some type of sin. Paul then encouraged those that were spiritual (mature in faith) to restore those that had been overtaken in a fault. This was to be done in the spirit of meekness (humility and gentleness), remembering that anyone can fall into sin (verse 1). Paul understood that our sinful human nature, often filled with pride and envy (Galatians 5:26), can make our attempts at restoring others an "I'm better than you" fest. Yet, this action of restoration was something that Paul believed was essential to the body of Messiah.
Believers are to be very involved in the lives of each other. Paul said that we are to bear one another's burdens (verse 2).This is what living in the body of Messiah is all about. We are not living out our faith as solitary individuals. We are part of a body with responsibilities towards each other. When members are suffering we are to help them. We are to care for them. We are to love them. This bearing of burdens fulfills the law of Messiah. As was seen in the prior post, "fulfill" means that the requirements of the law are satisfied each time others' burdens are shared. The law of Messiah, also called the law of love, and the Mosaic law are identical.
Paul continued his cautions in verse 3. If someone thinks too highly of himself or herself, he or she is deceived. We are to think of others before ourselves.
Philippians 2:3 (KJV)
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Paul summarized by recommending that each believer examine his or her own actions. In this way we can make sure that we are not falling into sin and that we are doing what God has required of us regarding our fellow believers. This is important because eventually, we will all bear our own burdens. In this verse, "burdens" refers to guilt (verse 5). Paul's reference here is to God's judgment and is not contradictory to verse 2.
We are to live as members of a believing body. We must care for those around us, particularly the believers. Yet, pride and envy can cause us to think more highly of ourselves than we should. Let us remember to examine our lives and to correct our behaviors into those actions that are pleasing to God, before others need to take us aside or God's judgment falls.