Bearing Your Burdens

By Gary L. Grizzell

The word “burden” is used a multiplicity of times in the Bible. The word itself is found some 67 times and a form of it is seen no less than 95 times. What is the definition of a burden? Of the word BAROS (BURDEN) in the New Testament one authority wrote:

“BAROS … denotes a weight, anything pressing on one physically, Matt. 20:12, or that makes a demand on one’s resources, whether material, I Thess. 2:6 (to be burdensome), or spiritual, Gal. 6:2; Rev. 2:24, or religious, Acts 15:28.” *

Burden Bearing From The Spiritual Perspective

The most important burden bearing being done today is the burden bearing involved in living together in a sin cursed world. Think of the need for burden bearing from the spiritual perspective.

I. The Burden Of Sin We All Have To Bear

The Bible says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The first pair, Adam and Eve, were the first to carry this burden in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-6). They were to blame for creating this burden and soon learned that guilt is the great burden of sin. After they sinned, they were so bothered by this burden they hid from God and made figleaf aprons to cover themselves. Never before had they been afraid of God. God soon allowed the offering of animal sacrifices by which men might be forgiven and therefore the burden of sin be taken away (Gen. 4:4; Heb. 11:4). Today, we are grateful God has given his only begotten Son that we might have him as the sacrifice for our sins. The Hebrew writer said: “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Heb. 10:4).

Jesus told a Pharisee, “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).

Paul wrote, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (I Tim. 3:16). In II Corinthians 5:21 the Bible says concerning Jesus, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Christ is our sin offering who bears our sins (Isa. 53:10-11).

The great folly of man has always been to bear sin through humanly devised schemes.

Consider the following:

1) Some try to ignore the burden of sin. The humanistic oriented counselor of modern times denies that sin is real, yet one can see sin in his {the counselor’s} own life. While some are treating the sin problem by saying, “Oh well, that’s human nature,” Paul the apostle says, No, that is the old man of sin (Rom. 6:3-4). Yes, it’s true that “To err is human, to forgive is divine” but this old uninspired cliche is not to serve as an excuse for living a life of habitual sinning. At the trial of Jesus, Pilot tried to wash his hands of the burden of sin (Matthew 27:24), but water alone will not cleanse a man of his sins. It takes the blood of Christ (Revelation 1:5) along with belief and a penitent heart to be cleansed by immersion in water (Mark 16:16; Luke 13:3; Rom. 10:9-10; 6:3-4; Acts 22:16).

2) Others try to carry the burden of sin by blaming their sin on someone else. This is what Adam and Eve did (Genesis 3:12-13). “Well, I’m just as good as anyone down there in that church, therefore I don’t need to become a member of the church to be saved.” But, it does not matter how good you are but where you are, that is, in the body of Christ (Gal. 3:26-27; Eph. 1:3; Titus 3:5). On the day of judgment it will be worthless to say, “Lord, I was just as good as brother so-in-so.” If you allow a religious hypocrite to keep you out of heaven, you’ll be forced to spend an eternity with him in hell. “Every man must bear his own burden” (Gal. 6:5).

3) Still others try to bear the burden of sin by the process of self destruction (the Judas complex). Some practice slow motion suicide by drinking their problems away. However, the problems are still there the next morning (cf. Gal. 5:19-21).

The answer to bearing up under the burden of sin is to live the faithful Christian life. The Bible says, “Casting all your care (anxiety) upon him, for he careth for you.” God’s Word teaches the Christian, “Be careful (anxious) for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (I Peter 5:7; Phil. 4:6-7). God promises to keep one who is a faithful Christian from being tempted above what he is able to bear (I Cor. 10:13). God desires to remove our burden of sin through forgiveness. We are reminded of His words long ago to a wayward people:

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18).

When addressing the matter of Jewish circumcision for the Christian Paul wrote: “For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Gal. 6:15).

Friend, which is the better choice, to seek to be a new creature in Christ or to resort to the Judas complex?

II. The Burden Of Physical Infirmities That All Must Bear

It all started as a result of man sinning in the Garden of Eden. God had said, “In the day you eat thereof, ye shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). This was a prophecy concerning death and all the infirmities that accompany death. Then Adam ate of the forbidden tree and at that moment he died spiritually and at that very moment he physically became a decaying creature. [The word “death” means separation]. It would only be a matter of time before his spirit would depart from his body and he would die physically. At the age of 930 years Adam died. Tragically, he continued in the beautiful garden for less than 130 years, which was less than 14% of his total life span (James 2:26; Gen. 5:5; Gen. 5:3). Satan, who was involved in the fall of man into sin, was later indicted by the Lord for his relationship to physical infirmity (cf. Luke 13:16).

Likewise, today, man’s body is in a state of decay. Interestingly, the Bible mentions numerous conditions:

Blemishes, Crookedback, Scurvy (Lev. 21:20).

Fever, Inflammation, Extreme Burning (Deut. 28:22).

Blains, Boils, Dropsy (Luke 14:2; Exo. 9:9; Job 2:7).

Madness (Deut. 28:28).

Dwarfism (Lev. 21:20, not allowed in priesthood, Lev. 21:18).

Botches, Canker (or gangrene) (Deut. 28:35; II Tim. 2:17).

Leprosy, Blindness, Lameness, Inability to speak (Matt. 15:30; Luke 5:12), and others.

While we rejoice in the great and marvelous achievements of medical science, we “groan being burdened” in the fleshly body and look forward to our heavenly body (II Cor. 5:4). The Christian is promised a better body which is eternal in nature (I Cor. 15:50-53).

III. The Burden Of Bearing One Another’s Burdens

The apostle Paul instructed to “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). Jesus taught this same lesson while here on the earth, saying that burden-bearing involved feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and those in prisons (Matt. 25:34-40).

In I Corinthians 12:12-26 the inspired penman teaches the BODY CONCEPT. He pointed out there are different members which make up the spiritual body of Christ, just as different members make up the physical body of a man. Some are the eyes, while others are the hands or the feet. Each member is concerned about the other members. When one member rejoices, all the other members rejoice with that member. When one member suffers, all the others suffer with that one member. Therefore, to
bear one another’s burdens:

• Rejoice with the brother who has had something good happen to him.

• Say to the brother who is sick or shut-in: “I’ll be praying for you” and let him know that you mean it.

• If a Christian has fallen away from the faith and has been offended, then try to understand him; bear his burden and when he feels his burden becoming lighter because of your help he’ll find it easier to come home to the Lord.

Remember, the Bible says to “Bear ye one another’s burdens,” not Ridicule ye one another’s burdens.

IV. Last, There Is The Burden Of The Cross

Jesus carried His cross by doing His part as the savior of the world (John 3:16). He left the glories of heaven, the singing of angels and the walking of the streets of gold to come to a sin-cursed world and die at the hands of wicked men for wicked men. He left the joys of the Father’s heavenly home to be beaten, mistreated, hated, mocked, spat upon, despised, falsely accused as a drunk and glutton, and nailed to a tree. “He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). Ask yourself, “Is my burden as heavy as the burden our Lord carried?”

Jesus now expects us to carry our crosses if we would prepare ourselves for the heavenly home where sorrow does not exist and perfect joy reigns forever. We must interrogate ourselves daily by asking the question of the songwriter: “Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free?” Then the answer must be: “No, there’s a cross for everyone and there’s a cross for me.”

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith” (II Cor. 13:5). It is an utter impossibility to expect a crown of life without previous crossbearing. Unless a man carries his cross he cannot be Jesus’ disciple (Luke 14:26-27).

To Bear The Cross Means:

⇒ To live faithfully the Christian life (Mat. 7:21-23).

⇒ It means sacrifices in the work of saving souls (Mat. 6:33).

⇒ It means never putting the cross down (Luke 9:62).

Jesus carried His cross as far as was possible and He walked on to allow himself to be nailed to it. Though He could carry it no further than He did, He chose to meet it at Calvary. (see John 19:17; Mat. 27:31-32; Mark 15:20-21; Luke 23:26). Friend, your cross may become heavy, but you can walk on toward the door of heaven. Jesus is your example (I Peter 2:21).

Stephen carried the cross unto death! (Acts 7:60). We are to carry the cross unto death if necessary (Rev. 2:10). With reference to persecution, most of us will probably carry it until death rather than unto death. But one thing is certain, carry it we must! We can’t carry it on Sunday and then put it down on Monday. We must carry it through the week: overcoming temptations, studying the Scriptures, praying, teaching and living for the Master (I Cor. 15:58). We will carry it until the Lord calls us home to gather around the great white throne with the angels and the redeemed of all the ages singing, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain” (Rev. 5:12).


* W.E. VINE, M.A. EXPOSITORY DIC. OF N.T. WORDS. Fleming H. Revell Co., Old Tappan, N.J., 1966. p. 157.
* All references are from the King James Version.

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