Bearing the Burdens of Christ

As young Christians, we learn to bring our burdens to God for grace and comfort.  As mature Christians, we learn to bear  Christ’s burdens: A burden for souls.  A burden for the purity of the Church.  A burden for revival. 

We see Paul doing this in his sufferings and prayers.  In 2 Corinthians 11:28 Paul discusses the fact that besides all his sufferings, he bears a burden in his heart for the well-being of the churches he founded: “Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.” (NASB)

Galatians 6:2 tells us: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  Bearing another’s burden includes praying for them the way you would pray for yourself.  Say a Christian brother has a relative who was kidnapped by terrorists.  He would carry a burden of prayer for that relative until the crisis ends.  If you carry around that same desperation in prayer for that kidnapped person’s safety, you are bearing that brother’s burden with him.

Christ Himself has burdens too.  There are things that bother Him.  That is why Paul tells us not to grieve the Holy Spirit.  His people’s sin bothers Him . . . look at how much of the Old Testament is prophecy, much of which was God being upset by Israel’s idolatry.  God is also burdened for souls.  Look at Jesus weeping over Jerusalem.

Bearing the Lord’s burdens means to be troubled by the things that trouble Him.

Even though God does not need anything from us, He is self-sufficient, He allows us to share His burdens as part of His intimacy with us.  We are getting to know His heart better as friends of God.

So first we learn to cast our burdens on the Lord, then to bear our brother’s burdens, and finally to bear the Lord’s burdens.  Bearing your brother’s burden is associated with the command to love our neighbor as ourself.  Bearing Christ’s burdens is associated with loving God with all our heart soul mind and strength.

The way we bear Christ’s burdens is through prayer.  When we are grieved over sin in the church, we cry out in prayer for revival.  When we have a burden for souls, we cry out in prayer for revival.  Yet it is actually the Holy Spirit in us praying in groans that cannot be uttered.  Romans 8:26 describes this: “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through groanings that cannot be uttered.”

Right now I am deeply burdened by pornography in the church.  68% of Christian men are regularly involved in porn and this has been going on for a long time.  I talk to people, even church leaders, and they know about this problem and they have no sense of concern or urgent desire to see it change.  Read chapters two and three of the Revelation and you will see how much sexual sin in the church grieves Jesus Christ.  Once when my wife hurt me I walked around all day for months distracted by the pain.  The same is true for me now about the pain the Bride of Christ is causing Jesus with her sins.  It hurts me so much I just have to pray.  The Bridegroom is my friend and His bride is hurting Him.

If you want more intimacy with Christ, ask Him to show you, to share with you, how deeply He wants the church to take its pornography problem seriously.  Pray for a sense of alarm in the church about this condition.  Pray that individuals with this problem will come under conviction and stop tolerating it in their lives.  Pray against the unclean spirits that are working in the lives of God’s people.  Pray for revival!

The essence of revival praying is that we are praying about that which burdens Him, not that which burdens us.  It is not about praying for the sick among us or asking help with our problems.  There are other times for that. Revival praying is praying for God’s will to be done in the Church, and at this point that means for a spirit of repentance to come over the Church.

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