Am I the only one who is tired of hearing about AI or “artificial intelligence?” Fortunately or otherwise, it is all the rage and likely will be for the foreseeable future. Though you don’t hear much about it these days, I recall when “emotional intelligence” was a major focus of attention, and I, for one, would welcome a comeback.
Most of us have heard about IQ or intelligence quotient. As I recall, mine is 755. (If you believe that you obviously do not know me well or are not acquainted with the IQ scale.)
IQ is thought to be static, meaning what you receive at birth will not likely change throughout your life. On the other hand, emotional intelligence, or EQ, is modifiable and can increase or decrease at various times in one’s life.
Though there is room for disagreement, most scholars concur that there are five components of EQ. These are how well you:
- know yourself;
- manage yourself;
- know others;
- manage your relationships with others; and
- motivate yourself.
One drawback I see with EQ is that it leaves God out of the equation. Make that one huge drawback because you can never have the entire picture without including the Creator of emotions and intelligence. When it comes to having healthy relationships (think Relationship CPR), you just can’t do better than to follow God’s wisdom as found in His Holy Word. Happily, whether intentional or not, EQ aligns well with Scripture.
When a relationship is not functioning well, it is so easy and tempting to blame the other person. May I suggest you consider praying as David did in Psalms 139:23, 24 and invite the Lord to reveal what part you might be playing in the situation? Proponents of EQ would give you credit for addressing the first component—knowing yourself.
God’s counsel for component two of managing yourself might be found in Prov. 25:28 where we read, “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” If you turn to 2 Tim. 1:7, you learn that “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity but of power, love, and self-discipline.” Peter, a man who had to learn much about self-control, wrote in 1 Pet. 1:13, “So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control.” I could list numerous other texts on the importance of self-management, but I think you get the point.
Listening, learning, lordship
In a previous column, I wrote about the benefits of listening empathically to others. I can think of no better way to know and truly understand someone than to listen to them with the sincere intent to understand them. As we read in James 1:19, it would behoove us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. While it has become a cliché, perhaps that is indeed why God gave us two ears but only one mouth.
As for component four of EQ, I could list a plethora (I like that word) of texts which instruct us on how God expects us to treat one another. Here are just a few for you to look up and heed: Phil. 2:1-5; Col. 3:13-15; Rom 12:18; James 4:11,12; and 1 John 4:20, 21. That will give you a good start in understanding that our heavenly Father wants us to treat each other as He wants His children to be treated.
Component five of EQ, self-motivation, is an interesting one for the follower of Jesus Christ. To truly follow Christ is to put yourself aside and give Him complete lordship of your life. Please study Matt. 16:24, Gal. 2:20, Acts 21:13, or Phil. 3:7 if you need confirmation.
With that being the case, self-motivation becomes Christ-motivation, and He will never motivate you to go contrary to His will or purpose for your life. And because He loves you, He wants the best for you and your relationships.
So I’ll close by suggesting you take to heart Christ’s words found in Matt. 6:33 and daily seek His Kingdom first—above and before all else. You don’t need me to tell you how busy life can be and how easy it is to march into each day pursuing your own desires and intents. Though quite common, it is also quite foolhardy and not conducive to healthy relationships or a productive, God-honoring life.
Time will tell if AI will ultimately prove to be more beneficial or detrimental. Improving your EQ, especially as practiced in harmony with God’s Word, seems unreservedly “intelligent” to me. What say you?
Ron Price is the author of three books and creator of Play Nice in God’s Sandbox video series.