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There are words that appear commonly in the Bible and people use them all the time in conversation, even if they're not a Christian. You might tell someone they have a lot of faith. Or that you believe them. Or that they had grace during a dance recital. Or that they have a lost of wisdom.
But did you know there's a word in the Bible that appears more often than...
Jesus wasn't talking about grizzlies (at least we don't think he was talking about grizzlies) but rather ways in which we can love God and love others better.
There are a lot of "bears" in the Bible (322 by our count) but let's dive into four of them here:
When God created the Earth, the very first thing He commanded was simple:
Thousands of years later, Jesus said the same thing:
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
— John 15:16
And God is saying the same thing to us now!
"Bear fruit" is a phrase used to describe the outward actions that result from the inward condition of a person's heart. Galatians 5:16–24 contrasts the works, or fruit, of the flesh with those of the Holy Spirit.
In our sinful nature, we bear things such as idolatry, jealousy, dissensions, and fits of anger. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…"
What did the Apostle Paul mean when he told us to "bear in love" with others?
"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
— Ephesians 4:1-3
If you're like me, you struggle with the idea of "bearing with one another in love" because, well, it's hard to love others. It's hard to walk alongside others. It's hard to empathize and sympathize and become weak for the sake of strengthening someone else.
The Apostle Paul knew this when he was writing to the Ephesians.
Notice he didn't say "it'd be good if you..." or "I suggest doing..."
He gave a command. Just as Jesus did before the Last Supper:
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
— John 13:34-35
If it wasn't a command, we probably wouldn't do it, would we?
We've all experienced burdens in our lives. Whether it's sickness or financial trouble or death... burdens come in all shapes and sizes. But Jesus has a solution.
In his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul writes:
"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor."
— Galatians 6:1-4
The church at Antioch is an example of believers bearing one another’s burdens. Acts 11:27–30 records that the church learned of a coming famine in Judea. Though they did not personally know the ones who would be affected by this difficulty, they took up collections to send to them by way of traveling apostles. The Antioch church did not assume responsibility for total provision, but their generosity lightened the load for those who would be suffering.
What does the word "witness" mean in the Bible? Isn't a witness just someone testifying in a courtroom? Why does Jesus keep saying He "bears witness"? And how can we bear witness today?
In the Gospel of John, we see an interesting dialogue between Jesus and Pontius Pilate.