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August 9, 2015

"We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves." - Romans 15:1
Who are the weak among us?  In the context of Romans 15:1, they are those who are weak in their faith, lacking strength in their convictions, uneducated and confused by strange doctrines.  Paul calls upon us, not to separate ourselves from those who are weaker in faith, but to literally lift their burdens.
It is way too easy to think of ourselves as "strong" or "mature" and to distance ourselves from those who are "weaker."  Maybe that distancing is not something we are consciously aware of.  Maybe it is.  The bottom line is the same.  People who need are hurting are instead wounded.  Those needing to grow are discouraged from maturing in their faith.  Damage to the Body of Christ is created when we think too highly of ourselves and too little of the graciousness of God (especially towards us).  Ultimately, the Body of Christ grows weak and we fall far short of testifying of Jesus to the glory of God.
It may be a huge paradigm shift in our thinking to consider ourselves as being placed in the Body of Christ not to have our needs met.  Hopefully, that isn't too great a shift in thinking.  If we are really "mature" in our relationship with Jesus then one of our primary goals should be the bearing up of those who are weaker.  Our energies and resources should be poured into times of fellowship, discipleship, edification and meeting real needs in real time.  Are we willing to bear this burden?
Looking around, has God placed someone in your life that you might share your life with in such a way as to encourage growth in their relationship with Jesus?  Is there anyone who needs someone to walk with them through struggles?  Maybe someone who could benefit by your studying the Bible together?  What steps will you take this week to seek out and connect with that person?  Can't think of anyone?  Pray and ask God.  God will lead you to someone if you are willing.