We urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14, NIV
Discernment isn’t easy, but God has given us two gifts that can help us.
The impulse of the Spirit
Thank God for the gift of the Spirit. If God had written precise directions for every situation in family and working life, the world wouldn’t be big enough to hold the books!
God hasn’t given us detailed instructions for every situation in life, but He has given us His Spirit, and He lives in you. Learn to have confidence in the Spirit to lead your mind and heart in the practical decisions of life.
- God has given you everything you need for life and godliness. (2 Pet. 1:3)
- You have been taught by God. (1 Thes. 4:9)
The guidance of Scripture
The Holy Spirit who lives in you is the same Spirit who breathed out the Scriptures. He will never contradict Himself. So always check the impulse of your heart against the Word of God.
Paul makes it clear that the goal for every Christian is that “you will not be dependent on anybody” (4:12). You support yourself. You provide for your family. Independence is a Christian calling and a Christian goal. So if you are giving money or other kinds of help to another person, a key question is whether you are helping that person toward independence or whether you are making them more dependent on you.
When was the last time you saw these two tools working together in your own life?