DISCOVERING RELATIONAL WISDOM TM

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1 DISCOVERING RELATIONAL WISDOM TM Stronger Relationships Valued Influence Compelling Witness Get wisdom. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you. Proverbs 4:7-8 Relationship trumps expertise Technical Expertise Relational Abilities Soft skills magnify (or diminish) the value of our hard skills, as well as those of people around us 1. Life is all about relationship (Gen. 2:18; John 3:16, 4:1-42; 13:34-35, 17:20-23). 2. Relationships are often fueled by emotions, both positively and negatively (Matt. 14:14; Gen. 37:11, 28). 3. The Bible provides a powerfully effective way to deal with relationships and the emotions that often fuel them. These truths can be organized into a six-part discipleship paradigm or model, that I refer to as relational wisdom. 1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself (Phil. 2:1-7 ESV). Page 1

2 Definition Relational wisdom is your ability to discern emotions and interests in yourself and others, to interpret them in the light of God s Word, and to use this insight to manage your responses and relationships constructively. 4. Relational wisdom is taught throughout Scripture (1 Chron. 16:12; Col. 3:13; Matt. 22:37-39; Eph. 4:30-32; Ex. 20:1-21; Phil. 2:1-11; Col. 3:12-17). 5. Six relationship-building skills that can become habits: God Aware (Remember): View all of life in the light of God s character, promises, and power 1 (Doctrine of God, Creation, Trinity, names of God, redemptive history, gospel) God Engaging (Faithful): Glorify God and reflect his character by trusting, imitating, and obeying him 2 (Covenants, attributes and promises of God, law, example of the saints) Self Aware (Humble): Accurately discern the feelings, desires, beliefs, and interests that are driving me 3 (Doctrine of man/sin, image of God, idols of the heart, justification, forgiveness) Self Engaging (Disciplined): Master my thoughts, words, and actions so that they please God and advance his purposes 4 (Sanctification, spiritual disciplines, accountability) Other Aware (Compassionate): Truly understand and sincerely care about what others are experiencing and feeling 5 (the church as body of Christ, discernment, Christian worldview) Other Engaging (Serve): Find fulfillment in benefitting others as God works through me to meet their deepest needs 6 (Love, sacrifice, service, evangelism, discipleship, teaching) 6. Like our own lives, biblical narratives run both inside (1 Sam. 17 and 24) and outside (2 Sam. 11) the relational wisdom circle. Sometimes life runs on both tracks simultaneously (1 Sam. 25; Acts 7). 7. The gospel provides both the motive and pattern for relational wisdom (Eph. 5:1-2; Titus 2:14). 8. The four phases of relationship Building Protecting Reconciling Rebuilding 9. RW is a relational operating system (analogous to Windows or Mac OS) that works in all four phases of relationships. Practice and growth in one area will improve your ability to live out relational wisdom in all areas. 1 Ps. 77:11-12; Ps. 103; Rom. 8:28-39; Eph. 3:14-19; 2 Pet. 1:3-8; 2 Prov. 3:5-6; Matt. 25:21; John 14:15; 1 Cor. 10:31-11:1; Eph. 5:1-2; 3 Ps. 139:23-24; James 4:1-3; Mark 7:21-23; 2 Tim. 2:22; 4 Matt. 16:24-25; John 8:29; Titus 2:11-12; 5 Luke 10:30-37; 1 Pet. 3:8; Phil. 2:3-4; 6 Mark 10:42-45; John 12:24-26; 1 Thess. 5:14-15 Page 2

3 PRACTICING RELATIONAL WISDOM TM Stronger Relationships Valued Influence Compelling Witness Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 1 Timothy 4:15 1. Unlike IQ (intelligence quotient) and personality, which do not change noticeably after the teen years, your relational wisdom can improve significantly if you are willing to work at it. 2. God designed us in fact he commands and empowers us--to grow in relational wisdom as he sanctifies and transforms us (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:22-24; 2 Pet. 1:3-7). 3. To grow in relational wisdom, practice asking yourself penetrating questions (to cut through the fog of emotions and controlling desires), and then finding and living out biblically faithful, gospel-centered answers. a. The simplest questions: What is true? What is wise? b. A slightly expanded form of the questions ( SOG Plan ) Self-Aware: What am I feeling? Why? What am I tempted to do? What should I do? Other-Aware: How are others feeling? Why? How am I affecting them? God-Aware: Where is God is all of this? How can I trust and follow him? 4. Practice and fine tune your questions so they come naturally for you. a. God aware: What is true about God? Who is God? (Ps. 62:5-8; Jer. 32:17; Gal. 4:6) What is he like? (Deut. 32:4; Ps. 103:8-13; Jer. 32:18-20) Remember: View all of life in the light of God s character, promises, and power What has he done? (Rom. 5:8; Col. 1:21-22; Titus 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:3-8) What does he promise? (Ps. 84:11-12; Ps. 103:6; Isa. 66:2; Rom. 8:32) What is God always up to in my life and the lives of others? (John 15:1-2; Rom. 8:28-30) Page 3

4 b. God engaging: What is the wisest way to act toward God? What would please and honor God? (1 Kings 3:6; Ps. 73:28; John 8:29) How can I show Jesus presence in my life? (Eph. 5:1-2; Col. 3:12-15) What does trusting God look like? (Ps. 37:1-6; Acts 5:40-42, 16:16-40; 1 Pet. 2:13-25) Faithful: Glorify God and reflect his character by trusting, imitating, and obeying him What teachings and commands will I obey? (Luke 6:27-36; Rom. 12:14-21; 1 John 4:19-21) What biblical examples can I follow? (Luke 15:20-24; 23:34; 1 Sam. 24) c. Self aware: What is true about me? What am I feeling? Why? (Ps. 6:3-7; Luke 19:41, 22:62) What do I need, fear, or want? How have I let these things control me? (Ps. 73:21-22; Gal. 2:11-14; Phil. 2:3-4; James 4:1-3) How have I sinned in thought, word, or action? (Ps. 139:23-24; Eph. 4:31) Humble: Accurately discern the feelings, desires, beliefs, and interests that are driving me What are my strengths? My weaknesses? (1 Cor. 2:3, 12:1-11) Who am I in Christ? What difference does this make? (Luke 12:48; Eph. 4:1; Col. 3:12-15) d. Self engaging: What is the wisest way to act toward myself? What choices do I have and what are their likely consequences? (John 14:21; James 4:6-8) How can I master my thoughts, words, and actions? (James 3:2; Titus 2:12) Is God calling me to confess my sins? (Ps. 139:23-24; Prov. 28:13; Ezek. 18:21-22) Disciplined: Master my thoughts, words, and actions so that they please God and advance his purposes What habits do I want to put off? To put on? (Eph. 4:20-32; Col. 3:1-15) Who will I trust to hold me accountable? (Ps. 141:5; Prov. 12:1; 13:10; 15:31; 27:5-6) e. Other aware: What is true about the other person? How is God calling me to view him? (Rom. 15:7; Col. 3:12-15) What does he seem to be feeling? Why? (Prov. 20:5) What are his deepest concerns, interests and needs? (Phil. 2:3-4) How do I seem to be impacting him? (1 Cor. 10:32; Gal. 5:26) Compassionate: Truly understand and sincerely care about what others are experiencing and feeling Who is he in God s eyes? How does that impact the way I treat him? ( Gen. 1:27; Col. 3:12; 1 Pet. 2:9) Page 4

5 f. Other engaging: What is the wisest way to act toward others? How can I encourage, serve, or protect him? (Matt. 7:12; Mark 10:42-45; Heb. 10:24-25) How should I communicate? (Prov. 12:18; 22:11; Matt. 12:36; Eph. 4:15, 29; 2 Tim. 2:24) Serve: Find fulfillment in benefiting others as God works through me to meet their deepest needs How can I demonstrate forgiveness? (1 Cor. 13:4-7; 1 Pet. 4:8) Is this the best time to offer advice or correction? (Prov. 12:18; 15:1; 19:11; Matt. 18:15) How can I promise, share, serve, or sacrifice to rebuild our relationship? (Luke 15:20-24) 5. Benefits of relational wisdom Stronger relationships Valued influence Compelling witness 6. Growth strategies (Eccel. 9:10) Pray daily for God s grace and wisdom to change and grow in specific ways (1 Kings 3:5-12; Col. 1:9-14; James 1:5; 3:17-18). Study God s Word daily (including the Scriptures referenced in this course) so that it is imprinted on your heart and mind (Joshua 1:8; Ps. 1:1-3). Journal your experiences, insights, victories, and growth. Practice the six skills by asking yourself penetrating questions as you relate to others. Study highly relational people, noting how they practice RW, and follow their example. Evaluate movies through the relational wisdom paradigm, noting emotional cues and examples of people practicing (or failing to practice) the six RW skills. Teach RW to others and ask for their feedback on how you practice the skills. For more information on practicing and improving relational wisdom, Visit Page 5

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