Five Signs Your Brother Needs Your Help

 
Dan DeWitt | February 5th 2019

Most vehicles have a number of warning signs to alert you to potential problems. I remember my old college car that had a “check engine” light that I learned to blissfully ignore all the way until the engine locked up while driving down the interstate. Similarly, my current vehicle has a service light that comes on when I need an oil change. I sometimes ignore that for a couple weeks as well.

We can be pretty good at ignoring the safety alarms in our spiritual lives as well—and the flashing lights in the lives of others around us. The truth is, we all need help from time to time. No one is so strong that they never falter. But how can you tell if your Christian brother is stuck in a rut and needs your help to get out? Here’s five warning signs you can look for:

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First, is he present? This is rather obvious, but shouldn’t be ignored. Is he showing up to worship, to Bible study, to gatherings of other Christians? If he isn’t, don’t assume he is okay (Hebrews 10:25).

Second, is he participating? Maybe he is present but not active. Does there seem to be a marked difference in his involvement? Does he seem distant? Is he quiet in Bible study in a way that is uncharacteristic? (1 Corinthians 12:15-26).

Third, does he seem to be pursuing things of the Lord? Sometimes we can be actively involved in a faith community but not seeking to grow. Does he talk about reading God’s Word, or trying to better obey a command, or confess areas of weakness? Maybe he’s been open to things like that before but now seems reluctant to go there. (Psalm 119).

May God help us all to walk together, out of our ruts, away from our sin, and forward in the path he has set before us

Fourth, does his passion for God seem to have cooled? Jesus said that the greatest command is to love him with all of our heart, mind, strength, and soul. That should make us stop and think. Our love for God is a monumental priority.  Not only should we make this our priority for ourselves, but it should be a priority for how we care for each other and help each other grow (Revelation 2:4).

Finally, do you see progress in his life? Maybe he isn’t skipping out on fellowship and accountability, but it seems like is happy to press the cruise button in his spiritual life. He might be stuck in a rut (2 Peter 1:5).

But before any of us runs off to analyze a Christian brother – let’s consider our own lives. We might need to remove the plank in our own eye before assessing the splinter in theirs (Matthew 7:5).  The Apostle Paul’s warning is a great place to begin as we consider talking to a fellow believer about their spiritual growth:

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.” (Galatians 6:1-5, NIV)

Maybe your brother needs your help. Maybe you need your brother’s help. May God help us all to walk together, out of our ruts, away from our sin, and forward in the path he has set before us (Hebrews 12:1-2).

That’s precisely why I wrote Sunny Side Up. The Apostle Peter messed up pretty badly when he denied Jesus three times. But our Lord graciously gave him the chance to make amends over a breakfast conversation in John 21.  Jesus called Peter to enjoy a life of all-out commitment to Christ. He calls us to the same thing. And that’s what Sunny Side Up is about—for flawed guys like me to catch the vision and the joy of living all out for Christ. 

Sunny Side Up is available to buy now.

Dan DeWitt

Dan DeWitt is the Associate Professor of Apologetics & Applied Theology at Cedarville University, Ohio and Director of the Center for Biblical Apologetics & Public Christianity. He is the author of "Life in the Wild" and "The Friend Who Forgives". Dan and his wife, April, have four young children. Dan blogs regularly at theolatte.com

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