Have you ever taken a personality test that gave you disappointing results? I've had this experience, and it made me think, "With strengths like these, who needs weaknesses?" You will like this story from Cash Luna on personality and the Person of the Holy Spirit. -Adam Forrest, Zondervan. [Excerpt from In Honor of the Holy Spirit: He Is Someone, Not Something.]
Some years ago my wife and I went on a retreat for married couples. The two friends with whom we shared a cabin talked to us about the temperaments that psychologists describe as characteristics typically present from birth...
When I heard of the advantages of [my temperament], I was encouraged to read about the positive traits, but I was disappointed to learn of [the] weaknesses. My first thought was: "With traits like these, I will never get anywhere."
I wanted to serve the Lord in His strength, not mine.
That night I could not sleep thinking that my whole life would be doomed by the weaknesses of my temperament. I wanted to serve the Lord in His strength, not mine. I did not want to boast in achieving success through my own natural abilities, nor did I want to end up frustrated by failure due to my own shortcomings....
I imagined myself on the day that I would give an account before God, trying to excuse myself on the basis of my personality type, telling God that was the reason why I did not do the things that I should have done. How could I tell God that I did not do what He commanded me to because I was fearful by nature, or that I had a hard time forgiving others because my temperament was that of a person prone to be resentful all the time? How could I tell God that I reached all my goals, but at the expense of stepping all over everyone else? How could I ever tell Him that I got distracted along the way because my temperament rarely allowed me to finish what I started? That was inconceivable in my mind and that is why I refused to live that way.
If I [depend] only on my strengths and weaknesses, I would live by the strength of my flesh and not seek and depend on the Holy Spirit to enable me to bear fruit.
Then I made a decision which would be one of the most important of my life. I decided to submit my personality type to the obedience of the Holy Spirit. I thought that if I were predisposed to depend only on my strengths and weaknesses, I would live by the strength of my flesh and not seek and depend on the Holy Spirit to enable me to bear fruit. I would be assuming that my weaknesses could not be corrected and that no transforming work would be possible in my life. Therefore I believed that the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit in my life, including love, patience, meekness or temperance, surely all of these together would be able to overcome any weaknesses in my personality type. Thus every time I faced the reality of one of my weaknesses, I would surrender that area of my life to the Lord. When I presented my weaknesses to Him, He never rejected me saying: "You cannot do that because you have a tendency to get distracted," or "I cannot choose you to do that great work because your personality type never finishes what it starts."
Years later I retook the test and the results were that ... the temperaments had been balanced in my life. This is the fruit of having submitted my behavior day in and day out to the Holy Spirit, so as to form new habits that have overcome most of my weaknesses It was wonderful to confirm that the Holy Spirit is able to help us in our weaknesses and make us the people that He wants us to become! ...
Dear friend, the Lord knows your words even before they come out of your mouth. He knows your heart and every detail of your being, yet His hand is upon you and He has chosen to surround you with His presence. Isn’t such knowledge wonderful and incomprehensible? He does not wait until you are perfect before overshadowing you; instead, He surrounds you in order to make you better. You do not have to be holy to receive Him. The presence of God helps you to become holy as He is holy.
Learn more about In Honor of the Holy Spirit: He is Someone, Not Something.
Power from Heaven via Jim Cymbala
"That's Just the Way I Am" & Other Self-Deceptions via Craig Groeschel
What Makes YOU Grow? via John Ortberg
(Some styling above is a web-exclusive feature not included in the text of In Honor of the Holy Spirit. This post does not represent the views of Zondervan or any of its representatives. The writer's personal opinions are shared only for information purposes. To receive new Zondervan Blog posts in your reader or email inbox, subscribe to Zondervan Blog.)