- Proverbs 29
- 2 Thessalonians 3
The concepts of Relational Wisdom are nothing new. We all recognize that relationships have 3 dimensions, how we relate to ourselves, others, and God. We also know that as we (self) apply and live out the truths of God’s Word (God), it should affect how we relate to others (others). But, there is often a break down, or disconnect, between what we know in our heads, and how we live it out in our lives. So, what causes us to not be able to apply and live out the truths of God’s Word when relating to others?
Here’s some Relational Wise verses:
- They will know we are Christ’s disciples by our love (John 13:35)
- Love one another as I have loved you (John 13:12)
- Whoever doesn’t love his brother is a liar (1 John 4:19)
- That they may be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us (John 17:21)
These are not new concepts. In fact, many of these verses we could probably quote or paraphrase at least. And yet, how often do these verses motivate our behavior in the midst of conflict, disagreement, or even times when we would say that we are not angry, but we are just “frustrated?”
It happens most often for me when I am playing games. My thinking gets really fuzzy when I start to feel like I am not going to win. The ramifications of hijacked thinking during a time of playing games as a family is one thing, but, on a team of missionaries endeavoring to plant a church among an unreached people group, the ramifications are much more serious.
What causes your thinking to get fuzzy, and for the truths of God’s word lose their ability to motivate your behavior? Can you relate to any of these statements:
- You feel someone isn’t pulling their weight on the team
- You see differences in work ethic.
- It seems like you have different priorities.
- You feel like “they just don’t understand…”
- You feel like you are not heard or understood or cared for.
As your thinking starts to get fuzzy, your emotions begin to rise, communication diminishes, assumptions, interpretations and judges increase, and ultimately a divide begins to form. Something has hijacked your ability to live out and apply the truths that you know.
One thing I find for myself is that instead of being aware of how my actions are affecting others, I focus primarily on how their actions are affecting me and because I feel hurt, or unappreciated, or not heard, I react negatively, or I begin to push away and avoid that person. It’s not necessarily hostility, (although it could become that if we don’t deal with it) but it’s also not unity either.
How do we overcome and take control of our thinking again?
It starts with being self aware. Ken Sande developed a really good tool to help us evaluate ourselves. He calls it, Learning to “READ” yourself.”
- Recognize and name your emotions. Ps. 42:5 | Matt. 14:30 | Phil. 4:6
- Evaluate their sources (thoughts, values, experiences, etc.). Ps. 73:2-3 | Prov. 20:5 | James 1:13-15 | see rw360.org/ccef-idols
- Anticipate the consequences of following them. Prov. 22:3; 15:18 | Col. 3:5-6
- Direct them on a constructive course. Prov. 15:1; 25:15 | John 12:27 | Col. 3:12-1
In “Winning the War in Your MInd,” Craig Groeschel talks about how, instead of living according to the truth, there are lies that we live by, that affect us as if they were true. But, the problem is we don’t recognize the lie. While it’s difficult to recognize the lies at times, we can always Identify the problems they create. Craig suggests that when we see problems, we need to stop and ask probing questions which will lead us to discovering the lie that’s motivating our behavior. Learning to READ yourself will produce some good questions.
In Proverbs 29 Solomon gives us some really good advice, reminding us of the importance of being self aware.
- Prov 29:1 Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery
- Prov 29:8 Mockers can get a whole town agitated, but the wise will calm anger
- Prov 29:11 Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.
- Prov 29:20 There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking
- Prov 29:22 An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin
- Prov 29:23 Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor
2 Cor 10:5 we are instructed to get our thinking under control… under the control of the Spirit. Once we are able to get your thinking under control, and make it “obedient” to God’s truth again, then you will be able to think correctly toward others again.
2 Thess 3:5 May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.
Declarations and Prayer
- When my thinking begins to get fuzzy, and my emotions begin to rise, I need to stop and pray, and ask probing questions to Recognize and Evaluate what’s causing the emotions.
- Like Proverbs 29 describes, I need to also Anticipate that this behavior agitates (Prov 29:8), starts fights (Prov 29:22), and will lead me to commit all kinds of sin (Prov 29:22). Instead I want to Direct my emotions to be someone who calms anger (Prov 29:8) and brings honor (Prov 29:23).
- Lord, lead my heart into a full understanding AND expression of your love. Give me the patient endurance that is the result of remembering your love on the cross for me. (2 Thess 3:5)