Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
—Romans 8:5

Character discernment is a valuable tool for avoiding toxic entanglements. It is a skill many of us lack. What is character discernment? It is simply the ability to find relationships that are good for you, and to avoid those that are not.

The apostle Paul said, “You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7). Notice he said who, not what. Romans 8:5 says, “Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”

When some people come into your life, they don’t just bring their bodies—they bring their spirits. There are two kinds of people: “flesh people” and “faith people.”

Flesh people tear you down and feed your fears, while faith people build you up and feed your faith. Flesh people waste your time and drain your energy. Often, Christians find themselves in confusing relationships that drain them of their emotional energy and greatly reduce their effectiveness. Think of the personal pain that could be prevented if we knew how to avoid unhealthy relationships.

This doesn’t necessarily mean “flesh people” are bad people; it just means they don’t belong in your inner circle. It also doesn’t mean that you should shun such people; God wants us to love all those we come into contact with. But we have to make sure that we are surrounding ourselves with more people who fill our lives than drain our lives. One of the first warning signs of spiritual failure is when we begin to isolate ourselves from Christian friends and from the house of God.

Faith people are the kind of people who fill your life. They draw you closer to being the person God created you to be. They are the ones who will be lovingly honest with you. They are strong when you are weak.

If God wants to bless you, He will send a person; and if Satan wants to curse you, he will send a person. That’s why, every day, we need to pray for 20/20 discernment in the world of the spirit to know the right people from the wrong people.

Prayer:
Father, strengthen me so that I may live according to the Spirit. May your Holy Spirit work within me so that I may be on my guard and accurately discern the things of the flesh from the things of God; the “flesh people” from the “faith people.” Please continue to bring supportive “faith people” into my life. In Your holy name I pray, amen.