‘Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. ..Each one should carry his own load’ (Gal 6:1-5)
Ministry is not easy. If a brother backslides, it is the responsibility of the mature believers to confront him, to bring him to the Cross and to help him come back to his senses. Pride is the main reason why believers deceive themselves and others and fall into sin.
Each child of God has to obey the command of Jesus: ‘deny yourself, carry your cross and follow Me’. This command is personal. No one can deny his flesh for another. No one can carry the cross of another. No one else can follow Christ on your own path and your own destiny. This is your personal responsibility. It is what God expects from you directly. You cannot delegate your cross-carrying to another.
But there are times when a brother falls into sin. That is an emergency. A spiritual mature believer can stretch his hand of compassion and help him out of the fire. Please be careful! Deliverance is a dangerous process! In the medical field, any surgery has a potential to kill the patient while trying to save his life. Pride is like leprosy that appears on successful ministry, in particular in the deliverance ministry. It is so easy ‘to feel good’ in the presence of needy brethren, all desiring your ‘anointed prayers’. Be watchful at the possibility of pride entering the heart, hand in hand with the success of ministry.
God placed restrictions so that the flesh will not ‘enjoy’ ministry while doing ministry. My enjoyment should be God alone! For example, the fragrance of incense was not to be enjoyed by any man, not even by the priest who offers it. It was to be for God’s nostrils alone. Enjoyment of the fragrance of worship was taken to be the same as sharing in God’s glory. That priest will lose his life for manipulating the worship of God for his own selfish desires (Ex 30:36-38).
As a brother is overtaken or caught in a sin, he needs to be attended to. The word ‘overtaken’ refers to the sin of being impatient, undisciplined or presumptuous. Literarily it means to be in a hurry to eat the food, long before all the family gathers at the table. This sin of impatience has brought many down. That is the place when the devil will add more burdens than he can carry. These are weights that pin him down, unnecessary anxieties and troubles. The backslider cannot restore himself and God will not do it directly. He will delegate this delicate work to ‘a spiritual brother’ who comes to pray, with strength, discernment and compassion. With the help of the Holy Spirit he will be able to dis- entangle the fallen soldier and restore to him his dignity. Jesus died to save your soul. But when it comes to the restoration of the prodigals, Jesus desires the cooperation of His servants. Great reward awaits those who are able and willing to enter the territory of the enemy and to rescue their fallen colleagues.
There is still another danger! Once the believer is back on his feet, he may wish to remain dependent on ‘the good Samaritan’ and to take his love and help for granted. It is the influence of the evil spirit of religion that makes people lazy and irresponsible. The Pharisees placed heavy weights on others and did not want to help at all (Mt 23:4). Gently but firmly, you must remind the former patient that he has been discharged from the Spirit -Hospital and from now on he is well enough to be responsible for his own burden and call in ministry. Do not over-help anybody! Learn how to say ‘No!’
‘Dear Lord Jesus, help me to know the difference between Your burden and the devil’s wicked bondages. Help me to cooperate with You and rescue souls fallen by the way side. Circumcise my heart in such a way that I will be dead to any seduction of the enemy. I am willing to pay the price for a higher level of faith. I am willing to take more risks for Your name to be lifted higher in this city. Help me to love like You love! Help me to pray like You pray! All for Your glory alone! In Jesus name I pray, amen!’