Manipulation

[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]T[/mk_dropcaps]he healthiest relationships are those that are built on a foundation of abundance.  In Two is Better than One, I talked about how an abundant mindset can transform the very nature and quality of your relationships.  But to really get the value of an abundant mindset takes an awareness of what a scarcity mindset looks like in the dynamic of relationships. To know what something is means we often have to know what it is not. The simplest way to see what a scarcity mindset in relationship looks like is to look for manipulation.  That is where one person’s actions causes them to win and the other to lose. Behavior like this is anchored in the belief that there is not enough blessing to go around. That when one person is blessed that means all others in that arena are competing for the left overs.  At its very core the dangerous thought that breeds this kind of behavior is that our God is restrictive and binding.  That He somehow did not take into account the vast resources that would be needed for all His children.  That He somehow was unaware of how much we would increase in numbers and the resources required to support that kind of growth.

Considering that our God is outside of time and is the very creator of the universe that belief is not based on truth.  Instead it is a narrow vision of what life is all about in the vacuum of life restricted by time.  It also abdicates our responsibility to exercise our own ability to create.  To partner together and in unity build resource, opportunity, and blessings for each other.  Look to the people who were building the tower of babel.  In Genesis 11:1-9 the story is laid out.  It says in verse 1

Now the whole earth had one language and one speech.

(They were unified in how they communicated, both verbally and nonverbally).  As a result since their intention was to build an altar for themselves, seeking their own gain the Lord intervened saying:

"… Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.  Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” – Gen 11: 6-7

There is a power of unity that the Lord recognizes creates an unstoppable force.  That is why in the nature of relationships the enemy seeks to restrict our very understanding of relationships to be all about what we can get versus what we can give.  We think we have to look out for ourselves because no one else will.  But that is not love.  That is selfishness. That is what the “flesh” desires.  In Galatians 5: 16-18 Paul unpacks the tension between the Holy Spirt and our selfish nature.

…Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

Like many issues it comes down to our ability to make wise choices that are led by the Holy Spirit, not our own desires, and not under the influence of the enemy. We become manipulative when we are driven by our fleshy desires and not the Holy Spirit.  We will do things with little regard for the cost or impact it has on those around us.  Now that is shaky ground.  Doing this long enough and the price gets higher and higher because we are built for love, not for consumption or abuse of others.  The wheels of your life will spin off and chaos, conflict and disorder will find you.

But you can change your course if you are seeing evidence of those outcomes in your life. To fully leverage the impact we can have on each other is to live out a purpose driven life.  With the intention of advancing others, a beautiful byproduct is we ourselves will advance at the same time. It takes a disciplined unity of mind-body-spirit to seek to operate from an abundance mentality not a scarcity mentality.  To seek to elevate and advance others above yourself and God will take care of you.  This is not just a nice thought of my own, it is the law of sowing and reaping.  Galatians 6:7 puts it like this:

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

Or to put it in the words of Zig Ziglar since agricultural references carry less impact in the technological age:

“You can have everything you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

The power of partnership is leveraged when you discipline your heart and mind to be in alignment with the great commandment, the golden rule:  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Mark 12:30-31). Watch your life flourish when you take the focus off your own desires and shift them onto helping others reach their potential in Christ.  It will bless you far beyond what you ever could imagine.  It will free you from a life that feels like grappling with no end in sight and no possibility of victory.  There will be a new ease and refreshing to your day to day as you look to see a need and meet it, to find a hurt and help to heal it.

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