Thursday, January 21, 2010

To Live is Christ — carrying burdens

A Christian man became so overwhelmed in grief when his wife died that he could not pray. He told the men from his church who came to visit him that he was not sure that he even could believe in God any longer.

The men put their arms around him and told him, “That’s okay. We will believe for you. We will pray and confess for you.” And they did, continually, and returned to visit him several times a week. After several months, he told them they didn’t have to pray for him anymore because now he would like to pray with them.

We heard this story in last Sunday’s sermon. It affected me greatly. This is a true example of what it means to bear one another’s burdens.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
There are people on my prayer list who tell me that they do not believe in God. I can believe and pray for them until they do believe. I can confess their sins and ask forgiveness for them. I can pray for them until they are able to pray for themselves and even after that.

This is what Jesus does. The Bible is clear about His role as my Savior from sin by His death on the cross. He interceded for me by sacrificing Himself in my place. However, I still sin and He continues to intercede for me in prayer.

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
I need that prayer now. I can confess my sin myself, but am not aware of every sin, but He is. He knows all about me, and knows when I need prayer. One day His intercessory prayers will not be necessary. I will step into my eternal reward and be totally free of sin. Until then, I need His intercession.

The word means to plead on another’s behalf. Some cannot or do not pray because they do not believe, or they think they do not need God. But Jesus prays for them, bearing their burden of sin on the cross and bearing their burden of unbelief and lack of connection to God in prayer. 

For me, to live is Christ includes bearing the burdens of others. One way I can do this is by praying for them until they are set free from whatever heavy loads they carry, the burden of sin included.

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