Protecting What is Precious
Read: Galatians 6:1
A few days ago, my husband and I were tending the rosebushes that line our front sidewalk. Because we live where deer regard tender rosebuds and lovely flowers as "Bambi Snacks", our rosebushes are surrounded by wire cages. In order to help the plants to be as productive as possible, we clip back spent roses and make certain that the tent stakes, which keep the cages from wobbling, are still in place. Occasionally, we discover a branch that is growing outside the cage, necessitating that it either be cut back if it is tiny or gently eased back into the wire enclosure. Once in a while, a bit more care is necessary, and that was the case the other day. There was a long branch with a good-sized bud on it, and it was completely exposed and vulnerable. The branch was much too stiff to try and bend back; so, my husband unhooked the cage, and we eased it around, ensuring that the bush was completely encased. Doing so, requires a gentle raising and lowering of the cage so the branch isn't damaged while we are trying to save a precious bud. It takes a bit of time, but it is well worth the effort when the result of the care we render is beauty that can be seen by all those who pass by.
There is something very sweet about being involved in the care of what God has created, Hebrews 11:3; Genesis 1:1. Even so, if it is a good thing to tend flowers and enjoy their fragrance and beauty, how much sweeter is it to help God's redeemed children so they can bear as much fruit for Jesus as possible, John 15:16. Here is an amazing truth. Unlike the beauty of even the loveliest rose, the fruit we bear as we rest in Jesus is eternal. It will never fade away.
So, how do we help each other live fruit filled lives? There are many ways to assist one another, but for today, let's look at what Galatians 6:1 says:
1. Someone who loves Jesus might become ensnared by sin. This verse isn't concerned with a believer who slips with his words or actions now and again and feels bad about it. Rather, Paul is giving us the picture of someone whose life is displaying a pattern of sin. It could be gossip or angry words or other sins that are seen. These transgressions can surely impair his fruitfulness and harm his testimony.
2. Someone who loves Jesus and cares about the one who is ensnared should come alongside him to help. Back to the rosebush's branch that was vulnerable to being harmed. The one who loves Jesus is also vulnerable. There is fruit that the Lord desires from his actions and he is in danger of never bearing it. There might even be lives that God would desire to impact through him if sin weren't overtaking so much of his life.
3. This helper should have a humble and gentle attitude. He must always remember that he too could be ensnared in sin. He should come, remembering the grace Jesus has already showered upon him and how patient the Savior has been. Finally, he should be careful, knowing that he too could fall into the very sin into which his brother has been ensnared. The goal in talking with the brother is restoration so there can be sweet fruitfulness and fellowship. Just as we gently manipulated the cage up and around the branch so no unnecessary harm would come, when we speak to a brother, the goal is that he would turn away from what is wrong and long to do what God says is right so that his life will bear much fruit.
Sometimes, when we talk with someone as Galatians 6:1 tells us to do, the one we speak to might become defensive or angry. This might happen even if we speak with humility and gentleness. If that occurs, let's not give up on the brother. Instead, let's continue to hope that he will be restored and that the beauty of God's fruitfulness will be seen by those whom he encounters.