Joey Bonifacio: Turn Burdens Into Spiritual Muscles

Pulling-heavy-loadOn my last day in Ko Olina, Hawaii, I was reminded of a discussion we had two weeks ago in Manila about burdens. Here is an expanded version of what I shared.

1. Distinguish between a load and a burden. There is a difference between a load and a burden. The Bible tells us to carry our own load (Gal. 6:5) but it also tells us to carry each other’s burdens (Gal. 6:2).  Loads are regular occurrences we are designed to carry. Examples of these are: caring for our love ones, work entrusted to us, providing for our families, even connecting with people God wants us to reach.

Burdens on the other hand are those that are beyond our ability to carry. This could be due to something unexpected, unknown or unusual. The first step in turning burdens into spiritual muscles is to correctly identify them. Is it a load or a burden? Once you have identified a burden, it’s time to…

2. Get someone to help you carry your burdens. Herein lies the importance of family and church (our spiritual family). We will all encounter burdens that we are incapable of carrying alone. It is our close relationships that allow us to carry these extra heavy loads.

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Here are two reasons why we don’t get others to help carry our burdens. We are too prideful to admit that there are things we cannot carry alone. Another reason is we have not developed relationships with people who have the capacity and desire to help us carry our burdens.

Fact is there will be burdens that we will need others to help us carry. As important as that is there will be times when we won’t have someone to help us carry our burdens. What do you do then?

3. Think of it like a being in a gym. The picture of the dumbbell above is like that of a burden. It was not designed to be carried the whole day but in increments. Carrying a dumbbell the whole day is dumb. It will result in an injury. This is also true of burdens, as they can injure our faith.

It was Rice Broocks who told me how to carry burdens, “Think of it like going to the gym, pick up your burden and then set it down. then pick it up again.” Rice’s simple advise has helped me through the years. Burdens like heavy dumbbells should be carried and set down and then carried and then set down again. This way instead of injuring ourselves we end up building faith muscles.

Setting down our burdens is not just simply letting go and forgetting about them, but it’s about running to Jesus who said, “Come to me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Setting down means casting our cares upon Him. When we set down our burdens we allow ourselves to rest in the presence of  God.

In time after we have rested and recovered from the weight of our burdens we can again carry them. This constant practice will build our spiritual muscles. Eventually what used to be a burden becomes just a load. When our muscles grow we put ourselves in a position to help others lift their burdens.

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Joey Bonifacio is the senior pastor of Victory Fort, one of 15 congregations that make up Victory Church in the metro Manila area of the Philippines. He is also the author of The LEGO Principle, which draws parallels between the famous toy-maker and core discipleship elements. Visit Joey’s website at, on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

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