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Thinking of God with Larry Sheehy: Offering help to each other
Larry Sheehy mug web
Larry Sheehy

Christian brotherhood is a wonderful, yet complex bond between individuals saved by grace, and in continual need of spiritual help from God to live faithfully in a world devastated by sin.  Our common heritage as God’s children makes it possible for us to enable one another, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to be victorious over Satan and his forces.  This is why Christians in the Roman province of Galatia were instructed by Paul to "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). 

The same apostle wrote to the brethren at Rome, "I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are...able to instruct one another" (Romans 15:14). Another church was to continue "building up one another" (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

God used terms to define the church as a group of people intended to help one another. For example, he designed the church like a family, with the positive spiritual values and characteristics needed to bring about spiritual growth. (It’s true that God wants his family to grow numerically, but not for the sake of numbers, but the salvation of as many people as possible. But he is also concerned about our spiritual growth and maturity.)  

When we trust God, and are faithful in our stewardship of the spiritual gifts we’ve received, everyone can realize, to the fullest degree possible, the benefits of our association "in the Lord." But when we take our eyes off Jesus, and lose our confidence in his way, we are incapable of helping, or of being helped, by others.

You may have experienced the frustration of a friend who keeps you at arm’s length, refusing your efforts to help, but nevertheless holding you responsible.  This often makes it difficult, if not impossible, to effectively reach out and encourage them.

In his magnificent passage on Christian love, Paul gives us a key ingredient to success in helping others when he says, "Love is patient" (1 Corinthians 13:4). Even when the human tendency is to give up, we can trust God and be patient with everyone.


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