In life, we will interact with, befriend and work alongside a multitude of people. Because humans are vessels used by God and the enemy to carry out their plans, some of these people will be heaven-sent, and some will not. It can be difficult to determine if a seemingly “good” person has God’s will in mind. But we have supernatural wisdom, knowledge and understanding available as tools to discern whose will is being carried out in a specific person. When questioning someone’s character, we must pause and listen to God’s answer.
Six guiding questions to ask yourself when discerning someone’s character:
1. Does this person acknowledge Jesus?
(Yes, Jesus hung out with people who didn’t believe in God, so that’s our cue to do the same. But, is surrounding yourself with this specific person changing you for better or worse? Are you changing them for better or worse?)
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” (1 John 4:1-6 NIV)
2. Does this person pressure you to act in a way the Bible clearly teaches against?
“Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.’” (John 14:23-24 NIV)
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)
3. Do you feel peace when interacting with this person?
“Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:14 NIV)
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15 NIV)
“‘All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’” (John 14:25-27 NIV)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)
(For those of us who deal with frequent anxiety, we feel may feel anxious in any situation whether it’s God anointed or enemy appointed. In these hazy situations, we must especially turn to God for clarity in prayer, turn to Jesus as our example, and turn to the Holy Spirit within us to know if what we fear is of God or not.)
4. Does this person exhibit the fruits of the Spirit?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)
(No one will live out these traits according to the Spirit perfectly, but are these traits consistent with his/her character?)
5. Does this person exhibit the acts of the flesh frequently?
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21 NIV)
6. What type of fruit does this person produce or seek to produce?
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:15-20 NIV)
All in all, stay woke. The devil is always looking for opportunities to kill, steal and destroy (John 10).
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV)
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