The Christian life can certainly be difficult, and maintaining a strong faith in our service to the Lord is often challenging. For some children of God, it is more challenging than for others. This is not intended as a derogatory characterization, but the reality is that there are many Christians around us who are “weak”—not physically, but spiritually. The Greek word that is used in the New Testament for “weak” is used for both a physical condition (i.e., sickness, as in Acts 5:15), as well as a spiritual condition. The word itself literally means “no strength” or “without strength.” Do you know any Christians around you who are “without strength” in their effort to serve the Lord? In all likelihood, you know several. What is your responsibility to such?
God wants us to “receive” the weak (Rom. 14:1). “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him” (ESV) or “accept” him (NASB). The Greek word emphasizes “to take to oneself” and “to grant one access to one’s heart.” Sometimes one who is weak in faith feels isolated and alone, which further exasperates his spiritual condition. Step one: Let us seek out one who is weak and receive him into a Christian friendship.
God wants us to “hold” the weak (1 Thess. 5:14). “We exhort you, brethren… uphold the weak” (NJKV) or “help” him (NASB). The Greek word emphasizes “to hold to oneself firmly, to cleave to, to cling to.” Think about this. Sometimes one who is weak in the faith is discouraged and troubled. Step two: Let us reach out to one who is weak and bring him in, cling to him and encourage him as a dear brother in Christ.
God wants us to “help” the weak (Acts 20:35). “You must support the weak” (NKJV) or “partake with” (Young’s Literal). The Greek word indicates not only “to take to oneself” and “to embrace,” but also “to take hold yourself to the other end” of something that needs to be carried or a task that needs to be completed. Sometimes one who is weak in the faith is struggling with a decision or with how to walk the walk. Step three: Let us seek opportunities where we can walk alongside a weak brother and “take up” the other side of a burden he is trying to bear and help to relieve it.
God wants us to “restore” the weak (Gal. 6:1). “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.” The Greek word was used for “mending nets” (Matt. 4:10), emphasizing the need to strengthen and help one to be brought back into the right way. Sometimes one who is weak in the faith strays away from the strait and narrow. Step four: Let us search out for brethren who are no longer among us and gently work to mend them and bring them back into the fold.