1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” How do we know we are in bad company?
14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. 16 For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble [you!]. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
Five Signs of a Toxic Friendship
Here’s how to spot the warning signs of toxic friendships…
1. When it dawns on you that your core group isn’t moving in the direction you want your life to be moving in.
2. When you catch yourself pretending to be someone other than who you really are.
3. When you feel pressure to compromise.
4. When you catch yourself thinking, “I’ll go, but I won’t participate.”
5. When you hope the people you care about don’t know your whereabouts.
How should we treat those who are toxic to us?
 When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin.  But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or who are greedy or are swindlers or idol worshipers. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that.  What I meant was that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a Christian yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler. Don’t even eat with such people. 1 Corinthians 5:9-11
Jesus said to treat them like tax collectors—wait, how did Jesus treat tax collectors? He told them about His kingdom (Matthew 5:27-31). They were not followers yet, so Jesus ate with them. We are to reach out to the lost, but we are to avoid those who profess Christ but do not follow His ways. We are to treat them kindly, but at arm’s length. Are we strong enough to do it? No. That’s why we walk in the Spirit and do it with His strength.
Even when we know the answer is, “yes,” the Holy Spirit will prompt us to ask the questions above. Why? Because it helps us to stay on track. One of my guys was telling me that in one of his training videos, he learned that train drivers in Asia have someone just behind them that point every few seconds in order to make sure the driver’s attention is on the road. That’s what the Spirit does for us in helping us keep on track (or get back on track).
Verse 25 tells us to “let our eyes look straight ahead; fix our gaze directly before us.” On what–or Whom–shall we fix our gaze? On Jesus!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer [author] and perfecter [finisher] of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2
Abba, help us to keep our eyes fixed on You. When we gaze into Your face, we have Your attention; we receive Your love, joy and peace; we have hope, and access Your mercy and Your grace. Why would we ever want to look anywhere else?! Amen.