Wisdom in Relationships

Advice

Relationship Advice

Giving advice comes naturally for me. In fact, I’m so good at it sometimes, that those receiving the advice don’t have to say much at all. What I’ve noticed, though, is a serious lack of following of my advice. Wonder why that is…

Lack of follow happens because my advice too often comes from me and not Christ. Sure, it may contain knowledge, but it lacks a wisdom.

The key to giving advice that truly teaches and counsels others involves first letting Christ’s words dwell within us, making us wise. In other words, an internal work must take place before external works have value. And that internal work happens when Christ’s words don’t simply exist in us but when they instead “dwell” in us.

This word “dwell” means to “have its home” as a master instead of a servant. And, “richly” involves having a master that keeps a good house, with an influence that isn’t just a presence but has a direct and consistent impact on conduct in every part of life.

Christ’s wisdom must rule our own hearts before what we say truly has life. In other words, knowledge must be self applied, guiding our own lives in love lived out in every part of life as we are clothed with a brand new nature (Colossians 3:9-10).

WisdomWise Relationships

I need wisdom dwelling within me in order to have good relationships. Without wisdom, I’m not sure what to say to a friend contemplating divorce or to someone frozen by fear. Without wisdom, I don’t know how to help my boys have good relationships and to choose the best careers.

Without Godly wisdom, my focus falls to my selfish desires because that’s what the world shapes in me. And without His wisdom, my inner atmosphere shuts itself off protectively against hurt, struggle and control.

Wisdom built on Christ, through His words and example, unite me with Him. This wisdom, when it dwells within me as my master instead of my servant, guides and directs the affairs of my heart, how I live out love.

As my life lives in the wisdom of God’s Word, as it dwells within and directs my heart, only then does my advice have eternal value. Only then can words of teaching (the imparting of skill and giving of instruction) and any admonition (words of caution or even scolding) combine with New Nature Relationships to add value to the kingdom of God.

DISCUSSION: How might Christ’s word “dwelling in you richly” impact your relationships?

16 thoughts on “Wisdom in Relationships

  1. I said to a coworker the other day, "Let me give you some unsolicited advice." He shot back, "all advice is unsolicited isnt it?" I guess — if thats how you look at receiving insight, wisdom, and even criticism in an unwelcoming state of mind.

  2. So THAT was why nobody paid any attention to the advice I gave them on how to solve their marriage problems, how to solve their child's rebellion problems, etc. Sheesh! 🙂 Seriously, I so lacked wisdom and spouted off advice it was no wonder people just listened (with their ears shut) and then just moved on doing their own thing.
    My recent post Cooperation

  3. Kari,
    I count it an honor when someone asks for advice. I work hard to not give advice because I do believe that most people don't want anyone telling them how they should be doing stuff. I think the unsolicited advice you guys talked about up above a lot of times has a negative effect. People get offended because when someone gives them advice they interpret it that the person has judged them lacking and in need. No matter how good the motive you may have the message we give when we give advice without it being asked for is your character is not up to par and you need my help.
    I think we can tell a person we have struggled with whatever they are dealing with and if they want to know how we worked through it then to look us up.
    Giving advice to children is different if they are our children. I'd stay away from giving someone else's kids advice unless asked for again. Even when we give our children advice we need to do it in love and understanding. It helps to explain to you kid how you arrived at the advice you are giving them. Sometimes the answer will be from God's word and other times it will be from good and bad experiences.
    Overall you are right on that our wisdom comes from God and to get that we need to be spending time with Him and in his word.

    • You hit on it well, Mark. Giving unsolicited advice usually is ineffective. I am definitely learning to listen, let the person be heard, sometimes voicing connection, but then letting them decide on of they want advice or not. You're right too that unsolicited advice often comes across as being judgmental, and that's something I want to avoid. So, I think a focus on listening really is the key and then praying for an opportunity to speak into their life at a later point, letting it be God making it happen and not me. Well said!

  4. I have found if I am too eager to give a person some insight I have learned it is usually pride on my part. Be swift to hear and slow to speak is probably the best advice God gives on handing out the wisdom we have. If a person has not listened to me well then trust I will not go to them for advice or counsel. Mark has said it well…pride tells us others need my advice. I would rather someone tell me I listened well then anything else, for it's then I know God has kept my tongue from spilling out advice that will not be heeded. I think that is why the Bible says, knowledge puffs up, so often we want to impart our knowledge without wisdom behind it. I love wisdom Kari which is why I strive to be a courageous wise hearted woman. It takes courage to keep ones mouth shut when all it wants to do is speak. I do not have this nailed down for sure and won't till I get to heaven and His glory will only say, thank you , thank you, thank you. Good post sister, really good.
    My recent post Frustration

    • Thank you, Betty. You sum it up all so well! Listen… build trust… don't talk… hold back on giving advice… all so necessary in this process of applying wisdom in relationships. You get at the role of ego in giving advice too, which I think is a whole other discussion but also a huge part. And, I really love what you said about how it takes courage to keep your mouth shut… oh my, is that SO very true. Wise words, my friend!

  5. It seems the more I've learned and experienced, the less advice I give. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's an understanding that most people don't want it and won't follow it. If someone asks for advice, I will often ask for time to think about it and pray before speaking. Unless, it's something I've gone through personally. I like Andy Stanley's advice on making wise decisions . . . "Based on your past experiences, your current circumstances, and your future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing for you to do."

    Those questions will usually help the individual and keep me out of it.
    My recent post 3 Steps to Genuine Humility

    • Great advice, Deb. My experience is teaching me much the same thing. I also am learning to wait to be asked for advice and to be ready to give it when asked because I do think those opportunities come along in God's perfect timing when we wait and let Him move. Seems like poor advice or unsolicited advice is often just getting out of God's timing.

  6. I’ve found if we walk with Godly wisdom, people will be drawn to us and our opinions. Living a good and wise example is essential.

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