The word obligation has taken on a negative connotation within the younger generations. Obligations are seen as restrictive, striping one of desired freedoms and opportunities. Today, we are moving away from the idea of certain responsibilities being legitimate. In marriage, spouses no longer need to focus on the emotional stability of the relationship. If it doesn't work out, divorce is always an option. Many parents won't teach their children about God or direct them toward the truth. It is their child's journey, not theirs. Co-workers no longer desire to build relationships with each other. Rather, people are steppingstones to a better life. In no way is another responsible for the other's betterment.

In Romans 15:1-3, Paul discusses how believers ought to treat each other and their neighbors, how we should deny our own desires at times. Those that are more mature and stronger should look to the spiritual well-being of those younger and weaker in the faith. In one sense, we are obligated to bear the weaknesses of others. On the opposite side of that coin, we are commanded not to please ourselves.

A positive and negative aspect to the same essential point: we are responsible for each other. In a shield wall, the soldier protects the man beside him, lending his strength. The wall only works if everyone is performing this function. It is the same for those in the church. We have to be responsible for those around us by protecting them, by bearing their weaknesses. There can be no greater obligation as part of the body of Christ than to seek after your fellow believer’s growth, even at the denial of your desires.

We are always to look after the betterment of the household of faith, but there are plenty of people outside the faith, our neighbors, whom we are also obligated to treat in a godly, self-sacrificing way (cf. Leviticus 19:15-18, Luke 10:25-37). It is important to show love and care for them, even those who wrong us (Luke 6:27-36). When we edify those around us, it gives us the opportunity to present the Gospel message. God has given us this responsibility. Why would we shun it? Should we not look at this obligation as an opportunity to glorify God?

Obligations are not negative things that restrict us. Rather, they are opportunities for us to glorify God as we seek to edify all of those around us. They are opportunities to display godly character. How have you edified someone today? How have you used your obligations to glorify God?