8/18/2019 – Possessing Your Promised Land – Pastor James – A Tale of Three Bears (Galatians 6)


  • Tie in with sermon series, how to make your own life and the areas God has given you look like Paradise
  • I read this passage a few months ago in preparing to teach our HS seniors from the book of Galatians, and this thing jumped out at me. I’ve been meditating on it for a while, considering it from different angles and hope that this is as helpful to you as it’s been to me.


  • Galatians
  • Only letter Paul wrote to a group of churches. Galatia wasn’t a city but a region. The region when in the 3rd century BC, a tribe of people from the region of Gaul moved into this region. It was a roman province in south central Asia, where Turkey is today. Galatia included the towns of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe which Paul visited 4 times during his 3 missionary trips. 
  • Some people in the churches in Galatia were teaching that people who were gentile (or not Jewish by nationality) had to take on Jewish customs in order to really follow Christ. These people were teaching that being made right with God doesn’t happen through internal motivations like belief and faith, but through outward appearances like following the Jewish feasts, abstaining from certain foods and getting circumcised. Paul writes to the churches in this region to address this issue.
  • In Gal 1-2, Paul defends his Apostleship. 
  • In Gal 3-4, Paul presents points that the Old Testament Law was inferior to the good news of Jesus and that the whole purpose of the Law was to point Jesus, to the one who would fulfill it, and be the example of following God
  • In Gal 5-6, Paul gives practical application of the doctrine he’s taught on. It’s the “now here’s what to do” part. You may have heard of the fruit of the spirit before, that’s here in this chapter, verses 22-23. But Paul also offers what life in the flesh looks like. Verses 16-17 have a list of what really could be called, the fruit of the flesh. You should read it sometime, it’s shocking, unsettling and convicting to all of us. 
  • Paul ends chapter 5 with an exhortation to live by the spirit, but keeping in step with the Spirit, literally walking in the path that the Lord lays out for us.
  • That leads up to chapter 6.  This is where we find the tale of three bears. 

BEAR 1 & 2: Galatians 6:1-5

Bear One Another’s Burdens

  • Caught in sin – picture of someone slipping on an icy road, or walking down an unseen dangerous pass. It’s when the person doesn’t see or is unable to overcome because the sin is so strong (sins that grab a hold of your life, addictions, choices that dramatically altar your life for worse).
  • You who are spiritual restore them (bring them back to a place where things are right, whole and at peace)
  • by YELLING AT THEM and quoting scriptures at them
  • through gentleness & humility; knowing that “but for the grace of God, there go I”
  • It’s the kindness of the Lord that leads us to be repentance.
  • Burden
    • Literally something to heavy or large to lift on your own.
    • Something that is impossible unless you get others to help you
    • This is life circumstances that you can’t gain control over; no matter how hard you try, you can’t get it yourself.
    • This is when you are moving your entire house and you literally can’t do it alone
    • This is when you have an addiction that has such a hold on you that no matter what you do, you can’t shake it
    • This is when normal life suddenly and without warning becomes overwhelming 

Bear Your Own Load

  • Everything I need for the day at hand
  • It’s a fair expectation that I am responsible for these things:
  • Spiritual Health (am I staying connected to God?)
  • Physical health (taking care of my body)
  • Mental & Emotional health (how I process/prepare/react to things)
  • Rest (am I getting enough sleep)
  • Relationships health (am I caring for others well; do I have others that care for me; is it mutual, or all one-sided)
    • spouse, kids, family, friends
  • Occupation (how I spend my time, work or school or at the home or volunteering)
    • This is the area you’ve been called to
  • Financial health (is my financial lifestyle one I can afford and is it pleasing to God)?
  • Taking care of my physical space (keeping my home clean so that I don’t trip, people enjoy coming over)
  • Play (for pleasure)

I’m the PRIMARY ONE responsible for these things.

Our ability to carry our own load can EXPAND

I need to be CAREFUL to not go into excess in one and neglect the rest of these (beach ball)


I can take PRIDE in how well I carry my own load and can look down with judgement on those that struggle or complain about it.

I can also NEGLECT what’s rightfully my own to take ownership of and dump my responsibilities on other people calling it a “burden”

The problem is that we sometimes we get confused as to what is a burden that I need other’s to share and what is my load to carry myself. Sometimes we ask for help for things that we are supposed to carry ourselves And then other times we try to carry a huge burden alone. My prayer for you is that you’d be free to do what God wants you to do. 

The truth is that we don’t have a black & white answer for each situation. Ask the Holy Spirit. And maybe ask a trusted friend.

Identify what’s your load and what’s a burden

Ask for help (Two tools to help you do that (digital directory & fb group))

BEAR 3: Marks of following Jesus

  • Marked as a Jew
  • Marked as a slave
  • Marked as a follower of Christ
  • Pressed into service
  • For Paul, his physical body was marked that he belonged to Jesus, but it was also written on his heart
  • We care more about other people, even t hose that are different than us, more than we care about ourselves.
  • Isn’t that what Jesus did?
  • Philippians 2:5-8 
  • Paul said if we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ


  • Imagine if we all
  • Want to see people successfully and joyfully carrying their own load and bear other’s burdens
  • I want you to think of this every time you grab your backpack on your way out the door, or every time you pick up your purse, computer bag. Today, I’m carrying my own load (and all that it means) and I’m ready to bear someone else’s burden AND I’m already bearing the marks of following Jesus.
  • As we endeavor to minister to broken people, understanding this can be a game changer. No one person can carry all the burdens; together we can change this community.
  • May you go from this place filled afresh with the presence of Jesus, ready to bear one another’s burdens, your own responsibilities for each day and marked by the presence of Jesus in your life.