Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?
- Paul (Acts 15:10)
Word. The council of brothers were meeting at Jerusalem discussing the actions that need to be taken by gentiles (non-jews) who have come to faith. Some believed they needed to be circumcised and start following all the other customs and rules handed down generation to generation since the days of Moses. But my man Paul started working his verbal gymnastics again! See Da Word 128! for some more context.
The gist is this: lighten up! Paul attempted to make it pretty clear that if they would all just sit down and think for a moment, they would realize, "Hey, even WE have not been able to follow all the customs! Not only that, we could hardly even bear it!" So Paul's question is extremely valid, if we can't do a thing, AND we are the chosen people, how can we expect a Gentile to have a fighting chance! Paul was in a sense imploring his brothers to be realistic, and to recall the whole point of da Christ coming and dying. It was so that we stand a chance, and that by grace we'd be alright. Not to stuff nearly unreachable standards down our throats.
The spiritual application is covered in Da Word 128! How about practically? For one, we need to learn to lighten up. It's okay to have expectations, but if we expect others to abide by measures we ourselves either can't or have a very hard time, it's time to lighten up. Life is a process and change takes time. Growing together provides an avenue for each individual to grow stronger and gain the fortitude to kick it up a notch. But staunch dogmatism is an enemy of relationship development, growth, and love extension. So expect the best, and encourage one another to be the best that he or she can, but don't squash a brother or sister if one happens to slip. Instead, lend a hand.