In this article, I will highlight 7 specific things to look at that can tell you a lot about a person.
1. Who They Receive Guidance From
None of us are the sole product of our own efforts and wisdom. God has not preprogrammed the human heart and mind to already know everything that they need to know. From practical skills to spiritual skills, we need others to help us learn.
But who we go to for guidance says a lot about us. Obviously the Bible is the main source of information God wants us to learn from. But even then we often need help from others to understand what certain parts of Scripture mean and how to apply these truths to our lives.
Is someone choosing to learn from a teacher who hates God? Does someone like learning from a teacher who yells cruel things at those who disagree with their school of thought? Does this person subscribe to all the new age podcasts? Or do they listen to biblically sound teachers who submit to the Bible’s authority on truth?
As Jesus said in Luke 6:40 (NIV), “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” Who someone chooses to learn from says a lot about the type of character this person is developing.
2. How They Treat Their Friends and Family
It’s not hard to treat people well when you are just getting to know them. So one way you can see how this person will be much later down the line if you stay with them is by looking at how they treat their longtime friends and family.
1 Timothy 5:8 states, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Paul says it like this because even people who deny the Bible know that it is moral to be kind and loving to your own family and those who are close to you. How much more should a Bible-believing Christian know this?
How they treat these people who have been in their life a longtime will be a good predictor of how they will treat you one day if you stay in their life for a longtime.
3. How They Choose to Relax
Humans have a tendency to compartmentalize sections of their life. We can act one way at work, another way at church, and a totally different way when we are with our friends.
One context of life that says a lot about a person is how they choose to relax. Do they like to sit back and get drunk? Do they like to read an edifying book? Do they watch satanic horror movies that glorify evil? Do they like movies but only watch things that are not evil and morally disgusting? Do they need to go to the club to relax? Or can they go the gym and get some stress out in a healthy way instead?
How someone behaves when they are tired and need rest says a lot about someone. Ultimately, a mature Christian will know that Jesus is the best source of rest, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
4. Their Church and the Spiritual Labels They Use
Every church, no matter how healthy it is, has pretenders in the pews. And every church, even the ones that seem really unhealthy, almost always have some true Christians in it. But where we choose to go to church does say a lot about our beliefs and philosophy of ministry (2 Timothy 4:3-5).
Labels can also be misused. Every church nowadays says they are a Bible-believing church. But not every church actually believes what the Bible says. Nonetheless, if someone says they are a Calvinist, an Arminian, a Southern Baptist, or a Catholic, these labels can help provide you with a lot of information about this person’s core beliefs.
5. How They Treat Others They Disagree With
Conflict is one of the best windows into someone’s soul. None of us can know what is in each others’ hearts. But when we are confronted with conflict, more often than not, what is in our hearts will come rushing out.
If you someone is mature and full of patience and wisdom, conflict will give you the opportunity to see this about them. But if someone is carnal and quick-tempered, this too will come rushing out of them when they disagree with someone.
As 2 Timothy 2:24-25 explains, “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.”
6. How They Spend Their Money
Each dollar we own is a like potential vote at the ballot box. When we spend our money on useless or evil things, we are voting for uselessness and evil. But if we spend our money on wholesome, useful, and godly things, we are supporting these types of virtues.
Savings and debt can also be a very useful indicator of certain parts of someone’s character. It’s important to note that people can be mature in one area of life and immature in a different area of life. So if someone struggles with debt, it’s not biblical to assume they are unhealthy in all areas of life. But how we spend our money does say something about certain character traits like impulsiveness or self-control.
As 1 Timothy 6:10 states, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
7. How They Act When Unexpected and Unwanted Things Occur
Do the F-bombs start flying when they are stuck in traffic and running late to work? Do they offer grace and patience if a friend calls them out of the blue in need of help? Do they grow distant and angry if something comes up and you need to change the plans? Are they able to stand their ground and say no when a pushy person is trying to change a good plan that should not be changed? Do they have a panic attack every time the news cycle finds another trial to highlight? Can they keep their sanity when the printer jams at the worst possible moment?
How we act when we are caught off guard is often the best indicator of our true level of maturity. As Philippians 4:12-13 explains:
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”