“For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-15).

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Oswald Chambers wrote regarding intercession: “It is impossible to intercede vitally unless we are perfectly sure of God, and the greatest dissipater of our relationship to God is personal sympathy and personal prejudice. Identification is the key to intercession, and whenever we stop being identified with God, it is by sympathy, not by sin. It is not likely that sin will interfere with our relationship to God, but sympathy will, sympathy with ourselves or with others which makes us say—‘I will not allow that thing to happen.’ Instantly we are out of vital connection with God.”

It’s easy for me to throw money at perceived needs and then pat myself on the back for doing my part, but could it be, instead, that I’m being too lazy to discern whether I’m really helping or not? Maybe I’m not lazy at all, but rather, I do it, because I like feeling in control, or I don’t want to deal with the strife of the situation?  Heartlessness isn’t the reason each of us must bear our own load (Galatians 6); we are to carry each other’s burdens and reap what we sow. But the enemy knows how to stir up our emotions and leave devastation in the wake. Whether writing to the Galatians, or to the Corinthians about putting away the ways of childhood (1 Corinthians 13:11), the Apostle Paul was describing a broader spiritual picture, which I think is applicable here. Repeatedly giving without care to how the gift is used is derelict; it is not grace. The Good Samaritan took more than a passing interest in the welfare of the man robbed, beaten, and left for dead.

I don’t know if the road to hell is really paved with good intentions or not, but I’m convinced the works of darkness are at least hidden among them, and we’re commanded not to take part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them (Ephesians 5:11). “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-15).

Doing what’s right and good will often not be obvious, quick, or easy; our emotions too often cloud our judgement and elicit carnal responses. The problem is that works of darkness masquerade as works of light; I can’t think of a better place for the enemy to hide them. Good intentions, those hastily and unwisely acted upon, bear unintended and unfruitful consequences (1 Timothy 5:22); discernment is the key to knowing the difference.

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