Mentoring Minutes

What Not To Do To “One Another” Even As We Bear Each Other’s Burdens

Right after Paul tells us to “serve one another in love” in Galatians 5:13, he shares something that he often does in his Spirit inspired words…he exhorts and admonishes us in the negative – what not to do or stop doing.

Look at Galatians 5:15 and he gives us a negative “one another” command, “If you keep on biting and devouring each other…you will be destroyed by each other.” 
But I thought Christians always serve, share with and give to one another in love. Obviously he needed to address the issues of pride, selfishness and anger that still reside in our flesh even after we come to know Christ.

Which “person” are you feeding? Are you following through with the serving and loving “one anothers” of The Spirit…or do you need to hear the disciplinary and corrective “one another” to stop back-stabbing, snipping at and destroying one another?

I suspect that we need both or The Holy Spirit would not have inspired Paul to share this with us as believers. I know I’ve had to learn to grow in both serving and loving as well as letting go of my own selfish desires and glory, not trying to drag others down to my level.

This is why forgiveness is so important (Matthew 6:14-15), both forgiving others when they have wronged us and seeking forgiveness when we have wronged others!

Verse 16 tells us how to follow through by choosing The Spirit rather than our flesh! Let’s be sure that we’re not allowing our petty, fleshly desires to drive us to pick at and try and bring down others but rather choose to lift them up in The Spirit…no matter who they are or what they’ve done!

Evidently there was and is a need for us as believers to be reminded of things we shouldn’t do to “one another.” Building on his exhorting us to not bite, devour and destroy one another, Paul continues in Galatians 5:24-26, as The Holy Spirit reminds us, “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” OUCH! Surely we Christians never do this and especially never to one another?!?

Remember that Galatians, and especially chapter 5 is about the contrast between the flesh and The Spirit, the outcomes of each and the choice that we have as believers in Christ to choose The Spirit over the flesh. In this “one another” we find the need for The Holy Spirit through Paul to remind us what it looks like when we choose the flesh, become conceited, and the fruit of provocation and envy in our lives and relationships…clearly fruit of the flesh.

Instead we are to choose, as Paul tells us in v. 13 which we shared a few days ago, to “serve one another in love.” This is the choice in The Spirit!

Which choices are you making with “one another?” What does the fruit in your life reveal about those choices?

So after telling us to serve one another in love, stop biting and devouring each other, and to not become prideful, provoking and becoming envious, Paul closes out his “one anothers” in Galatians 6:2 with this wonderful reminder of love…”Carry each other’s burdens…”

May each of us be willing to reach out and lift the burdens of others through serving, giving, prayer and encouragement… however we are able and given opportunity and access to do so let us follow through. Part of this burden bearing is reaching out to help restore those who’ve sinned while also being very careful that we don’t become prideful and fall into sin.

I pray that we would cast all our burdens on you because you care for us (1 Peter 5:7) and then look to you to show us what burdens you want us to help carry for others in your love for all of us and through us to one another.

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – What do you need to stop doing to others in loving obedience to Your Savior and Lord? What burdens do you need to help carry for another today? What burdens do you need carried for you? Let us be willing to bear one another’s burdens and allow others to carry ours as needed and do so in love to honor Christ and build His Body.

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)

  1. Spend time with Him in His Word and prayer daily – read and study the Scriptures in this post as a way to start.
  2. Ask The Holy Spirit to teach you.
  3. In what areas do you need to work on to “stop” tearing down others?
  4. In what ways can you carry the burdens of others?

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Heavenly Father, even though I don’t always like these “one another” admonitions, I need them to remind me of Your Love and how you love us in spite of our failures, flaws, and selfishness. Check me whenever I’m tempted to lash out at others and help me choose to carry their burdens when I can and serve them in love. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Wait For and Serve Others Equally

Today’s first “one another” is somewhat interesting in that it is very simple to understand but evidently not always easy to follow through (maybe that’s true of all of the “one anothers” and certainly true apart from Christ). We find it in 1 Corinthians 11:33 where we are told to “wait for each other” when we come together to eat.

In the context it strongly appears to point to those who were giving into their hunger pangs and coming just to fulfill those with no regard to other believers. This caused them to fall or fail in two ways: 1) to wrongly partake of the Lord’s Supper (Communion or Eucharist) because they were more concerned with filling their bellies and flesh rather than acknowledging The Lord’s sacrifice, death and payment on our behalf, and therefore bringing condemnation on themselves (1 Corinthians 11:27); 2) they ate impatiently and indulgently or selfishly (see vv. 17-22) and without thought, care of deference for others, i.e., waiting respectfully on all those who would gather to partake.

Both of these point to a heart that is hardened and not open to humility, generosity and fellowship as it places self above others. It hinders and/or destroys the loving fellowship of believers, which is the desire of Christ for His Bride, The Church.

Seems simple but when we move in our flesh there is a need for the command, not just about eating and partaking properly, but this is only accomplished with hearts of love…loving one another as we wait for and, defer to, one another.

What guides and drives your heart, mind and body (flesh, hunger, lust, selfish desires)…OR humility, graciousness, gratitude, generosity, others above self?

Only Jesus can give you the latter and that’s why all the “one anothers” of love and loving are found only in Him!

As we continue with the “one anothers” in Scripture I need to remind myself and if needed you will receive this reminder…the “one anothers” are included in Scripture to literally help us love others as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31)…and as Christ has loved us (John 14:15).

However as we spent time sharing previously in these posts we can do neither without first knowing and learning to love God with all we are (Mark 12:29-30) as we prayerfully attempted to do through better knowing His Names. The we must learn to love who we are in Christ (Ephesians 2:10) as we did in the Identity in Christ focus.

With that said we find the next “one another” as we continue in Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 and look where The Holy Spirit leads Paul to write just after reminding us to wait on others. He tells us that love is to “have equal concern for each other.” In a simple summary…don’t show favoritism!

The text here is where Paul is describing the various parts of the body, our literal body, as an example of how all the parts are absolutely needed and of great importance. No one part is greater than any other regardless of the function and recognition given to it. This is how the Body of Christ is to function and by giving equal concern and care for each other we avoid division and create unity.

He follows this teaching on the unity and importance of all the parts and gifts of the Body with what we know as The Love Chapter in 1 Corinthians 13. Here The Holy Spirit, through Paul, describes what happens when we place undue importance and priority on what we’re doing rather than why we’re doing it…in Love.

This is why we must not show partiality or favoritism in any way because it divides us and it diminishes His Love in and through us. We rejoice in their blessings and fruitfulness and we hurt when they hurt…this is love as we care for each and every “other” in the fellowship in His Church.

How are you caring for all those in your sphere of influence?

As Paul, in The Holy Spirit, continues to address the various early church plants we find more and more of these “one anothers” encouraging The Body of Christ in how we are to love each other and all others in Him, bringing us to our final “one another” this week.

In Galatians 5:13, just before Paul describes the lusts of the flesh and the fruit of The Spirit, he tells the believers, then and now, to “serve one another in love.”

Just before this passage he has spent time admonishing believers regarding 2 key issues; 1) to know the freedom they have in Christ and; 2) not to abuse that freedom so that it becomes license (a false freedom of unbridled sin).

How do we do this? By placing others above self in love and serving our fellow man. Doing this as an overflow of our love for Christ it keeps us from turning our freedom in Him into selfish satisfaction and seeking for our own fleshly desires.

This serving is not simply a duty on a checklist but as Paul states, it is done because of and in love. This is why it’s essential that we understand and continue to seek and grow in our love for God, know and love who we are so that we are “serving one another in love.”

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – What does your service flow from? Is there evidence in your life of your loving relationship with God (not just attending church, giving and serving but time spent in His Word, in prayer and in meditating and listening to and for Him)? Are you waiting on others with equal concern?

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)

  1. Spend time with Him in His Word and prayer daily – read and study the Scriptures in this post as a way to start
  2. Ask The Holy Spirit to teach you
  3. How do you practice patience and deference to others? Where do you need to grow in these areas?
  4. Take some time to search (and ask The Holy Spirit to search) your heart to find out the source of your serving others? Respond to whatever you find out in line with God’s Word to serve selflessly.

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Accept, Instruct and Greet One Another

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.Paul  (Romans 15:7)

I pray each of us takes faithfully and seriously God’s “One Another” commands in Scripture as we continue to fulfill the Greatest Commands…Loving God with all we are, knowing and loving who we are in Christ so that we can love “one another” in all the way that He has expressed, called and commanded us to do.

Building off the somewhat difficult command to stop judging one another (as we closed out last week’s post) we find Paul taking it a step further as he continues to wrap up his letter to the Roman believers. In Romans 15:7, The Holy Spirit, through Paul’s quill, instructs us to “accept one another, just as Christ has accepted you (us).”

You mean I not only have to stop judging those who don’t see and do things exactly as I do…I have to accept those who are different, odd, funny and quirky to me? Yes, just like Christ has accepted them and me in all my quirky, odd, funny and weird ways.

Oswald Chambers states this kind of “One Another” love as follows, “The first thing God does is to knock pretense and the pious pose right out of me. The Holy Spirit reveals that God loved me not because I was lovable, but because it was His nature to do so. “Now,” He says to me, “show the same love to others” — “Love as I have loved you.” “I will bring any number of people about you whom you cannot respect, and you must exhibit My love to them as I have exhibited it to you.”

“Accept one another as I have accepted you.” How are you doing with those whom you find disagreeable, contradictory, negative, pessimistic, unrealistic, abrasive or just down right mean?

May we love and accept others as Christ has done for us so they can know Him.

As we continue with how we are to love “one another” we find Paul charging us, just a few verses later, to “instruct one another” in Romans 15:14.

Not only does this mean that loving others in Christ’s family includes that we are to teach and guide them but that we are to receive instruction and teaching from others as well. We are to be maturing and found competent to both give and receive Godly instruction!

This is a major part of how we grow in Christ and as His Body, The Church. We do this only in the goodness and knowledge of Christ!

In the original Greek the word is also translated as “instruct, admonish, or warn” and Paul states this after telling us to learn to bear with those who are weaker (just as those who are stronger than us do the same for us) by denying self and as we quit living just to please ourselves. This teaching is obviously in line with Christ teaching His disciples (then and now) to die to self, deny self and live for Him and others above self.

WOW! This loving one another thing is tough. Why? Because apart from Christ our flesh is selfish so we can only do each of these “one anothers” consistently and truthfully as we grow in our surrender to Him and His Spirit lives in and empowers us to do so.

How are you doing when it comes to admonishing, warning and instructing others in humility and love? Are you growing and maturing in Christ, The Holy Spirit and His Word to be able to lovingly and truthfully instruct…and receive instructions with discernment and wisdom?

Remember that in all things that we are to speak the truth in love in order that we may grow as disciples and as His Church (Ephesians 4:14-16).

Our last “one another” for today may be difficult to grasp in today’s licentious culture but it is powerful as we see it in the context of God’s Word.

This “one another” is found five times with four of them in Paul’s letters to the Romans (16:16) and in both of the Corinthian letters in Scripture (1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12), his first letter to the Thessalonian church (1 Thessalonians 5:26), and finally, in Peter’s first letter to the churches (5:14)! Each of these confirms that there was a significance in this command that we need to seek more deeply to understand what God is calling us to.

This command is “greet one another with a holy kiss.” It is the same exact phrase in our English language in each of these commands by Paul and Peter…two pillars of our faith and of Christ’s Church (except where Paul to the Thessalonians tells them to greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss).

In our culture this becomes difficult to embrace because of our sexualized, pornified society that may either ignore it or carry it too far. Simply explained, most scholars believe that this command was a form of salutation to do one or both of the following: 1) share a blessing of loving fellowship with each other by passing on the pneuma (breath of life and blessing) in The Spirit, and/or; 2) this kiss represented the symbol and a bonding of family…the Family of Christ!

We must never separate this act of a greeting and affection from the descriptor of “holy,” meaning pure and sacred. Many cultures still practice the literal kiss of some kind and in Christ’s Church it must be rooted in the holiness aspect above all else to express the affection, blessing and encouragement it is meant to share.

Probably the greatest example of this becoming perverted and twisted was in Judas’s kiss of betrayal with Christ, as he greeted Him, in pointing out to the authorities that He was the one they were to arrest (Matthew 26:49; Luke 22:48).

While we may not literally kiss one another, we offer other exchanges that represent this command as we embrace, speak blessings in The Spirit and other cordial connections of fellowship and love. In this way we show each other that we care.

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – I pray we will take to heart these and all of the “One Anothers” that help us to love in such a way that The Spirit and Love of Christ become more and more evident in and through us. We are all welcome in Christ for He has made it so by His Grace for all who believe in Him!

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)

  1. Spend time with Him in His Word and prayer daily – read and study the Scriptures in this post as a way to start
  2. Ask The Holy Spirit to teach you
  3. How do you accept others in Christ? How do you accept and share instruction in Him?

In what ways can you step outside your own insecurities and learn in Christ and The Holy Spirit to greet others with Holy and Godly affection?

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