This month I am addressing the subject of the elements of living relationships. These ingredients are what it takes to walk in a relationship, especially in covenant relationships. I believe that leadership in the church must understand and embrace the elements of relationship for the sake of those they lead. I wrote in regard to these things in my weekly personal blog in 2011, but these things are essential for leaders in the church and thus I am writing of these things in this leadership blog.
I believe there are seven elements in any living relationship. Once again, the elements of life‐giving relationships are most critical in covenant connections, but the principles can apply in any type of relationship in varying degrees. Every relationship must first have a foundation of connection of commitment. This is a place of the heart where you believe in the relationship. For a relationship to last there must first be a believing in the relationship and a first love connection. This will create constant and continual “first experiences” that are essential to the passion and life of the connection.
The second key ingredient to a living relationship is that of “actions”. Those actions are connected to the commitment to the relationship and they are meant to be actions of the heart and not merely the mind. I call this the “faith level” of the relationship. Whatever we believe will always determine how we act. When we believe in a relationship our actions toward that relationship will testify of our commitment to it. The actions by each member of the relationship must be actions of believing in the relationship, not merely actions preformed for the purposes of one’s own agendas. Those actions must be rooted in the belief of the heart and not in the circumstances surrounding or affecting the relationship. Every member must do works that speak of their faith toward one another. Without this, the relationship will begin to dwindle and die. “Actions” of the members of a relationship will testify of the commitment of its members one to another.
If a relationship is going to thrive there must be a “response” level connection. When commitment inspires actions there is then the need for the members of the relationship to “respond” to one another. When the actions of other members in the relationship bring life to its members, each member responds by “spilling over” in the direction of the other members with an evident testimony of the relationship. Commitment inspires actions and actions induce responses of the members of the team toward one another.
Now we come to a very important element of the relationship. That element is one of submission one to another. Now without the first three elements there is no true submission in the relationship. You see true submission is absent control and manipulation. It is not an issue of getting, but rather of giving to the relationship. True submission in a relationship involves freely receiving what another is giving and freely giving what one has to another. It never includes forcing or taking. It is a life giving interchange that brings health, growth, and increasing life to the relationship.
The foundation of a life‐giving relationship is based upon a motivation of commitment. Each member sees that their future is connected to the other members of the team. The members of the relationship are then empowered to do works of faith toward one another and the team. Because they realize their future is with one another, they do actions from their heart for one another and the team. They then become activated to respond to the testimony of the relationship. In a marriage, they see themselves as one flesh. In a covenant team they see themselves as one team. Because of these elements each team member then becomes enlightened to the testimony of submission one to another. There is a strong shield of togetherness in the team whereby each member sees himself or herself easily together and seldom apart.
Each team member is then awakened to contribute to the destiny of the relationship because they have a living revelation of the purpose of the team. They are alert to purpose. They live to contribute to the fellowship of the team. Their thought process is to advance the purpose of the team, whether that be a marriage, a leadership team, or a covenant family.
When a team operates at this level of relationship the members of the team are easily drawn to the love one another. Even their conversations are for one another and what comes off of them is an attitude of betterment for the team and its members. They see the relationship as a place of community and not merely a resource supply for their own lives. Their thoughts and concerns are now those of freely giving to the life of the team. When a covenant team reaches this level of relationship it is easy for its members to be impassioned to dedicate their lives to one purpose and that purpose is that of the team. There is an awe of each other on the team and this is a life‐giving team of destiny. A culture of honor increasingly develops and matures within the team.
I believe that every God‐ordained relationship must have within it increasing measures of commitment, faith, response, submission, contribution, love, and dedication. Next week I will address the failure of such teams, but for this week please consider these elements of a life‐ giving team. To be a covenant team of life every God‐ordained relationship must be filled with members who exhibit the following attributes:
- Motivated for commitment – My future is with you
- Empowered to do works of faith – My heart is with you
- Activated to respond to the testimony of one household – Our footsteps are one
- Enlightened to the testimony of submission to one another – We walk with a shield of togetherness
- Awakened to give a contribution to one another – We are of one mind and I am dead without you
- Drawn to the love one another – What comes out my mouth and off of my life is for us
- Impassioned to dedicate our lives to one purpose – I see the awe of you as a member of the team – We can do whatever is necessary for the destiny of our team
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson