by Larry Browning
Last week on our blog we began to look at how Christ living in us should lead us to love others and how that looks. Let’s continue exploring that today.
Christ In Us For Others – continued
2) Sharing Blessings (Galatians 6:6-10).
Just as “one another” should be a key phrase in the believer’s vocabulary, so is the word “fellowship” which is translated “share” in verse 6. From the very beginning of the church, sharing was one of the marks of the Christian experience. The Greek word koinonia simply means “to have in common,” and refers to our common fellowship in Christ, our common faith, and even our sharing in the sufferings of Christ. But often in the New Testament, koinonia refers to the sharing of material blessings with one another. This is what Paul had in mind in these verses. He began with a precept in verse 6, commanding us to “share with one another.” The Bible teacher shares spiritual treasures, and those who are taught ought to share material treasures. Always remember, what you do with material things is an evidence of how you value spiritual things. So, we must realize the spiritual principle that lies behind this precept in verses 7-8. God doesn’t command believers to give, just so pastors, teachers, and missionaries might have their material needs met, but that the givers might get a greater blessing. The basic principle of sowing and reaping is found throughout the entire Bible. God has ordained that we reap what we sow. If you sow wheat, you expect to reap wheat. But God has also told us to be careful where we sow, and it’s this principle that he dealt with here. Paul sees our material possessions as seed, and he sees two possible kinds of soil: the flesh and the Spirit. We can use our material goods to promote the flesh, or to promote the things of the Spirit. Remember, once you’ve finished sowing, you can’t change the harvest. Money sown to the flesh will bring a harvest of corruption. Money sown to the Spirit will produce life, and in that harvest will be seeds that can be planted again for another harvest, and on and on into eternity. Sad to say, much seed is wasted on carnal things that can never bring glory to God. Of course, there’s a much wider application of this principle to your life because all that you do is either an investment in the flesh or the Spirit. You’ll reap what you sow, and you’ll reap in proportion to how much you sow. The believer who walks in the Spirit and “sows” in the Spirit is going to reap a spiritual harvest. The carnal believer thrives under the “spiritual dictatorship” of a self promoting legalistic pastor, because it makes him feel secure, successful, and spiritual. The carnal believer will sacrifice what he has to make the work more successful, only to discover that he’s sowing to the flesh and not to the Spirit. Having given us the precept and the principle behind the precept, Paul now gives us a promise in verse 9 which says, “We can’t allow ourselves to get tired of living the right way. At the right time we’ll harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit, or faint not.” Sometimes, this spiritual fainting is caused by a lack of devotion to the Lord. We’re appreciated for our work, labor, and patience and this makes it easy for us to leave our first love and backslide; we’re motivated by self. The answer to this isn’t just work, labor, and patience, but the proper motivation: “faith, hope, and love.” Believers should work in faith, labor in love, and have patience in hope. It’s so easy to work for the Lord, but allow the spiritual motivation to die. Sometimes we faint because of lack of prayer. Luke 18:1 says, “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” Prayer is to the spiritual life what breathing is to the physical life, and if you stop breathing, you will faint. It’s also possible to faint because of lack of nourishment. Matthew 4:4 says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” If you try to keep going without proper food, you will faint. But the promise Paul gave us will help to keep us going: “In due season we shall reap.” Planted seeds don’t bear fruit immediately. There are seasons to the soul just as there are seasons to nature, and we must give the seed time to take root and bear fruit. In verse 10, Paul tells us that sharing also involves doing good “unto all men.” There are those in the world who do evil; in fact, there are those who return evil for good. Most of the people in the world return good for good and evil for evil. But the Christian is supposed to return good for evil and they are to do it in a spirit of Christian love. As we “do good unto all men,” we must give priority to “the household of faith,” the fellowship of believers. This doesn’t mean that the local church should become a clique with the members isolated from the world around them and doing nothing to help the lost. Rather, it is a matter of balance. A man always cares for his own family before he cares for the neighborhood. We must remember, however, that we share with other Christians so that all of us might be able to share with a needy world. The true Christian is a receiver that he might become a transmitter. As we abound in love for one another, we overflow in love for all men. This is how it was meant to be. We as Christians should model this for the others in our families, in our church, and in our community.