This Sunday we embarked on a new series for the new year called Boundaries with the tag line “When to Say Yes and How to Say No to Fulfill our Purpose.” Many of us struggle with boundaries, and life without boundaries can lead to bitterness, shame, burn out, and unhealthy relationships. Throughout this series, we are looking at some teachings in Scripture and the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend to help us live a more free, fruitful, and fulfilling life in Christ.
The word “boundary” is a line that marks the limits of an area. We have boundaries all around us. We have boundaries in sports, in driving, and around our homes and yards. Each of us personally have boundaries physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Boundaries mark what is me and what isn’t me.
In Galatians 6:2, Paul writes, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in doing so, you fulfill the law of Christ.” This verse highlights our responsibility to others. Sometimes people have burdens too big to bear on their own- perhaps they don’t have the strength, the resources, or the knowledge. These burdens are like a big boulder or rock that crush us or weigh us down. Christ lived out this verse- he did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Jesus carried our burdens and sins all the way to the cross. As Christians, we are called to help carry each other’s burdens, and in doing so, we exhibit the love of Christ. Sometimes carrying each other’s burdens looks like bringing over a casserole, lending a listening ear, giving money, or referring to a counselor.
In Galatians 6:5, Paul continues, “Each one should carry their own load.” These two verses say almost opposite things; however, there is a difference between the word “burden” and “load.” A load is like cargo or the weight of daily toil. A load is something we carry around each day like a backpack. Galatians 6:5 highlights our responsibility for ourselves. Some examples of the things we carry each day that we are responsible for include our attitudes and beliefs, our behaviors, our choices, our feelings, our thoughts, our limits, our desires, and our love.
As followers of Christ, we live within the tension of these two verses. We are responsible to others, we are responsible for ourselves. Said another way, if I only take care of you, I cannot take care of myself and my own load. Likewise, if I only take care of me, I cannot take care of you- I fail to fulfill the law of Christ and help carry your burdens. Leaning into this principle is key to living a life with boundaries. Living by this principle will help us to let go of the anger, shame, and tension in relationships, and embrace God’s purposes for us.
- Monday-Galatians 5:16-21
- Tuesday- Galatians 5:22-26
- Wednesday- Galatians 6:1-5
- Thursday- Galatians 6:6-10
- Friday- Psalm 16:1-11
Questions to Consider or Discuss:
- In what ways are you realistically responsible to others? What is one opportunity God is showing you right now to help carry the burdens of another?
- In what ways are you realistically responsible for yourself? In what situation today are you acting as if the load of daily toil is a boulder you shouldn’t have to carry?