Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel Phipps works at the MAF UK office in Folkestone as Human Resources Manager and has been with MAF for 23 years. Her role includes recruiting people to serve with MAF in 27 developing countries worlwide, and supporting the 95 UK personnel serving overseas and in the UK.
‘We’re all just walking each other home.’ This jumped out at me in a recent Facebook post.
I know it could initially sound a bit twee, but it got me thinking about our Christian walk towards our heavenly home or, as we say in my family, Home with a capital ‘H’. It made me reflect on the importance of relationships and challenged me about what kind of companion I am on the journey.
When you walk places with others, you soon find out about the different roles in the group.
There are those way out front who are setting the pace, hurrying us up, shouting back directions, and telling us, ‘the view is worth it’.
There are those in the middle keeping a steady pace, enjoying the journey, not getting distracted and making the most of what they see around them.
There are those who may need a bit more leading, like a toddler with reins to help them keep balance, or those needing someone’s arm for support.
There may even be those at the back who are trying to keep up, struggling with their load, and afraid to ask for help.
We have probably played each of these roles at different times in our Christian lives, maybe some of them at the same time. I wonder where we are at currently, and I wonder where God wants us to be?
In Galatians 6:2, we are told to carry each other’s burdens. If we do find ourselves out front, are we making sure we help others; calling back with directions and leading so they can find their way? Are we keeping pace in the middle, helping others learn from where they are now and enjoying the journey with them?
Or perhaps, we’ve chosen to hang back and walk slower in order to share another’s difficult journey with them.
Maybe we’re experiencing our own struggles and need to reach out and ask for a steady arm of support. Wherever we find ourselves on our journey, we are called to encourage and to be encouraged.
1 Thessalonians 5 gives us another inspiring model of how to walk with others as God wants us to walk. It’s a privilege, it can be a burden, but we are called to it. Called to walk each other home — Home with a capital ‘H’!
Heavenly Father, thank You that You seek a relationship with us, and You place us in relationship with others. We recognise that our journey is sometimes a joy, sometimes a struggle, and we ask for Your help so that we can be the companions You want us to be. Amen.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
1 Thessalonians 5:11-14 (NIV)
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:1-2 (NIV)
- How do these words guide the way we support one another?
- In what ways might we find this particular teaching difficult to live out?
Father, show me the kind of companion You want me to be, and show me how to be better committed to both new and old relationships.
Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.
Ephesians 6:13 (NIV)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jon Cadd has been working with MAF for more than 35 years and is MAF's eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Country Director. With more than 14,000 hours of flying under his belt, Jon has flown planes in Zimbabwe, Uganda and the DRC. He is also a licensed guide in Zimbabwe and loves the African bush and wild places.
As a guide in the wild African bush, I often encountered dangerous animals more powerful than humans. Beasts with teeth, claws and horns that could easily kill the unwary or ignorant. If you run from an elephant, leopard or lion, you put yourself in serious trouble. It is always best to stand.
Sometimes it's best to stand very still, sometimes to stand up big and yell defiantly at the overpowering charging animal. It's not easy to stand in one place as our intuition tells us to run. But running almost always causes the animal to keep coming.
This principle also applies to the spiritual challenges that threaten our resolve. Running may seem like the most natural thing in the world but, if we stand firm, our faith will rise and, as faith rises, the inclination to flee becomes smaller. We often find ourselves facing situations that seem too big for us — medical issues, torn relationships and financial challenges outside our control.
But we have a choice to make — we can either take matters into our own hands, doing whatever feels most natural, or we can stand firm and see what God will do. The first option erodes our faith, the second strengthens it. As our faith is bolstered, we will begin to live with expectation, trust and, ultimately, peace.
Ephesians 6:11 instructs us to put on God's armour and stand our ground when the enemy attacks us. James 1:4 exhorts us to persevere and let faith grow when trials surround us. If you feel like running away, maybe it’s time to evaluate your trust in God.
Do you believe God can handle your situation? Perhaps it’s time to stand and let your faith grow.
Lord, I pray that all those I encounter will see Christ through my actions and words. Send someone my way who needs to experience Your touch and help me to be ready to be part of what You are doing. Amen.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4 (NIV)
- How do these words guide our response to struggles we might face?
- In what ways does our faith grow when we come through a period of trial?
Father, show me in what ways I can better overcome the challenges of life, and commit to growing further in faith.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This devotion is brought to you by Olly Nunn. Olly has worked with MAF UK for more than ten years. He is married to Amanda, who also serves with MAF in the UK, and the two are kept busy bringing up their two sons, Thomas and James.
For as long as I can remember, I have been completely obsessed with aircraft. Growing up, I voraciously read everything aviation themed that I could get my hands on – from the adventure-filled Biggles stories, right through to the kind of technical manuals that would send any ‘normal’ person to sleep!
One book that was read and re-read countless times was an account of life on a contemporary Royal Air Force fast jet squadron. The whole thing was utterly enthralling, providing a window into a world of which I desperately wanted to be a part.
However, there was one passage that caused me to question whether I really had the kind of steely-eyed ‘right stuff’ to pursue a career with the RAF. It described the experience and challenges of operating the RAF’s Tornado aircraft completely ‘blind’ at ultra-low altitudes.
In this environment, the pilots are obliged to remove their hands and feet from the controls — completely relinquishing control — and to instead place absolute trust in the aircraft’s ‘terrain following’ autopilot equipment.
I freely admit that I have a definite tendency towards being a ‘control freak’ — so the idea of hurtling through twisting valleys at near supersonic speeds, while calmly allowing the aircraft to fly itself, sounded utterly nightmarish! As much as I wanted to, I really couldn’t see myself coping very well with this sort of demand.
I guess many of us can recognise similar fears and uncertainties when it comes to our personal walk with Jesus. At an academic level, we know that we need to rely completely on His guidance, and that He can be completely trusted to guide us safely through the ever-changing landscapes of life.
However, at the moment of actually relinquishing control, our heads can fill with doubt — with the kinds of ‘what if?’ questions that paralyse us and stop us from completely trusting God with our lives.
In an ironic twist, although putting our trust in God’s plans for our lives can often feel like the high-risk option, the total opposite is in fact true!
And, just like a Tornado pilot succumbing to his fears and disengaging the autopilot system, it’s when we try to take back control — to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) — that we become vulnerable to all manner of pitfalls and dangers.
Walking with God can sometimes be challenging – and even counter-intuitive – but His plans and promises for your life are perfect, and infinitely better than anything that the world can offer.
Put your trust in Him.
Father God, I am so grateful that You are completely and utterly trustworthy. Your faithfulness is amazing! Please forgive me for all the times when I have tried to do things my own way or have turned my back on You. Help me to put my trust in You today. Through the work of Your Holy Spirit, please give me the strength and self-control to seek Your will, and to trust in Your perfect love for me. Amen.
For the word of the LORD is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.
Psalm 33:4 (NIV)
- How do these words guide us to trust God more?
- In what ways would our lives be different if we committed every decision to God?
Father, show me the areas of my life where I need to let go of control; to stop striving and put my trust in You. Remind me Lord of Your promises.
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