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Galatians 6:3-6 meaning

Instead of judging others with an arrogant mindset, we need to focus on our own personal obedience to God. We need to take care of the needs of teachers of the Bible.

In practicing love and bearing each other's burdens, Paul warns against arrogance. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Arrogant thoughts are lies, plain and simple. Believers who think that they are more important than others will fail to love others. Instead, the Galatians are called to lift one another up, bear each other's burdens, rather than treat each other with condescension. Condescension isn't a loving mindset, or an accurate one. It's deception.

Paul points to a way to combat conceited thinking. Each individual believer must examine his own work; the Galatians are called to think about their personal behavior. For each believer who does this, he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. What Paul is promoting here is the idea of knowing ourselves truly, rather than falsely thinking we are something great, or from comparing ourselves to other people to elevate ourselves. This includes realizing the mental model of self which Paul presents in Chapter 5. We have a flesh, which is connected with the world and nothing good living within us. And we have the Spirit of God, and a new creation living within us. They are fighting to get us to choose. We get to choose which to obey.

Arrogant, conceited thoughts are thoughts that criticize others to elevate ourselves. This is the flesh pretending to be righteous. But if we reflect on ourselves truthfully, we will see that we have a sinful nature, in which nothing good dwells, just like everyone else. And our new identity in Christ is there because of the gift of grace, not because of anything we did. That should lead us to take care of one another in love.

We're called to be servants to other believers, not to lord over them. Right before the start of this passage, Paul wrote in Galatians 5:26, warning his readers against "challenging one another, envying one another." Instead of envy or conflict, Paul wants the believers in Galatia to serve one another with love, and to remember they are accountable for themselves. We are called to examine ourselves, not other people. The Galatians' "boast" should be in their obedience to God, their own work...and not in regard to another. Paul is telling the Galatians to stop comparing themselves against each other; he's promoting harmony through walking by the Spirit, not sinful competitiveness or judgmentalism.

Paul tells his readers that each believer will bear his own load. This is particularly interesting, since Paul insisted in 6:2 that we should share one another's burdens. Now he tells us to bear our own load. Walking by faith in the Spirit means taking responsibility. We take responsibility for ourselves, and we take responsibility to help others. Walking in the flesh does not take responsibility. Walking in the flesh demands from others. Walking in the flesh judges others, and condemns others in order to gain control—like the competing Jewish "authorities" are modeling. Walking in the flesh assigns blame. Walking in the Spirit assumes responsibility.

Paul insists that each of us is accountable for our own obedience to God, for how we treat others. We should worry about our own obedience and let the Spirit take care of leading others. It is the Spirit's job to convict, not ours. We can gently lead them, help them. But we are not in command. The Spirit could command, but does not. The Spirit lets us choose.

The Galatians should individually do their part to love one another, to take care of one another, and to restore sinful believers back to following the Spirit. When all members work together, a church can cohesively, harmoniously live a life of freedom and faith.

For the sake of a healthy and stable church, Paul writes that the one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. Paul has been condemning the behavior of "leaders" who are teaching falsely. Does this go against Paul's own advice? No. The Bible is very consistent. We are to give large degrees of grace and mercy to one another, but hold teachers to a very high standard. False teachers are like leaven, a little false teaching can lead to much destruction. False teachers are to be dealt with very strictly. But Paul wants to make clear that good teachers, those who teach the word, need to be cared for.

The learners in the church should share what they have with the teachers, whether they are the pastors of the church in Galatia, or traveling teachers such as Paul. It is the right thing to do to take care of teachers. Food and shelter if need be, so that they can continue teaching.

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