The Six Types of Spiritual Relationships

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Every prudent man deals with knowledge, but a fool lays open his folly. A wicked messenger falls into mischief, but a faithful envoy is health. Poverty and shame will be to him who refuses instruction, but he who regards reproof will be honored. The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil. He who walks with wise men will be wise, but a companion of fools will be destroyed. Evil pursues sinners, but to the righteous good will be repaid (Prov. 13:16-21).

The first key to healthy relationships is to accept that not everyone is Spirit-filled, wise, responsible, teachable or a good investment of time and energy. We must determine which category we are in and invite wise people who love us enough to tell us the truth to help us see ourselves more clearly.

Every one of us has at least some areas of our lives that are foolish, if not even evil. We are all works in progress.

Wise + Foolish = Parental Relationship

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Irresponsible people seek out overly responsible people and dump their responsibilities on them. You know you have picked up a relationship like this when you are doing for someone things they should be doing for themselves.

Wise + Evil = Distant Relationship

When an evil person seeks to build a close relationship with a wise person, the wise person maintains the distance. Aided by the discernment of the Holy Spirit, Jesus kept His distance from evil people, and we should do the same.

Foolish + Foolish = Codependent Relationship

When two foolish people come together in a close relationship, they multiply their folly. Jesus was friends with foolish people and even attended their parties but only to help make them wise. He never acted foolishly or sinfully.

Foolish + Evil = Abusive Relationship

Foolish people are often gullible and vulnerable. Because they do not deal with reality or have much of a plan for their lives, they are easy prey for evil people. Sadly, foolish people allow this kind of abusive relationship to continue for far too long and pay a steep price.

Evil + Evil = Dangerous Relationship

When two evil people come together, they are like two barrels on a gun. If you get in front of them, you are likely to get shot. United by their common goal, when two evil people come together, they make it their life's mission to do the same thing as the devil—steal, kill and destroy.

Wise + Wise = Healthy Relationship

When two wise people walk humbly together, they make the good times twice as good and the bad times half as bad, as the old saying goes. Proverbs 13:20a speaks of this kind of relationship, saying, "He who walks with wise men will be wise."

How about you? Which of the six kinds of relationships do you most commonly find yourself in?

Mark Driscoll is a Jesus-following, mission-leading, church-serving, people-loving, Bible-preaching pastor and the author of many books, including Spirit-Filled Jesus, which you can order here. He currently pastors The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his family. For all of pastor Mark Driscoll's Bible teaching, please visit or download the app. You can download a free devotional e-book from pastor Mark here.

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