Sunday, January 26, 2014

Affinity 1: Romans 12, Type Indicators

There is nothing more satisfying in life than running – if you are a runner.  There’s nothing more satisfying than to the crack of a bat or the feel of a ball in a glove – if you like baseball.  The fulfillment we find in life comes from doing what we were created to do.  It is only through such feelings of accomplishment the lights of our eyes shine forth.  So how do we get there?  First we need to know what were created for, only then can we know what we are good at.
There is value in understanding ourselves, discovering our personalities and finding out who we are as individuals.  The Bible clearly indicates we will be held accountable for our talents, Matthew 25.  Not only is it satisfying, it is imperative for us to be aware of our gifts and use them.  We should be aware of our strengths, and know and study the strengths of those around us.
Hippocrates was the first person to document personality types, as early as 400 BC.  We adhere to his types even today.  Thankfully, we have a Biblical recording of personality types as well.  Paul refers to personality types in Romans chapter 12 as spiritual gifts each possessing distinct attributes separating them one from the other.  His descriptions give instructions along with each type and describe how we can work together as a collective body. 
Psychology today studies personality types as well.  Most psychologists go along with Hippocrates and group personalities into four major categories though they call them something else.  Hippocrates gave the following names: Choleric, Melancholic, Phlegmatic and Sanguine.  Since the meaning of those words is largely cryptic and unflattering, the types have been renamed into the following: Controller (Choleric), Analytic (Melancholic), Stabilizer (Phlegmatic) and Persuader (Sanguine). 
Each personality theory attempts to categorize and describe behavior, showing how men and women interact with the world around them.  The discussion is focused on the soul, made up of mind, will and emotions.  Personality becomes the resultant interaction of our mind, will and emotions and how we express those interactions to others. 
Paul gives seven gifts in Romans 12, each of them show a different aspect of mind, emotion, and will. 
The gifts of prophecy and mercy are opposite aspects of our mind like two sides of a coin.  How we approach sensory details determine whether we intuit or experience factual data. 
The gifts of ministry and administration are opposite aspects of our will.  The administrator tends to make quick judgments, while the heart of the servant is only to perceive.
 The gifts of teaching and giving are opposites of the emotion.  The teacher tends to approach tasks in the realm of the mind, while the giver attempts to see needs through feelings.
All of us are exhorters in one way or another.  How extroverted or introverted we are determines how much of an exhorter we become.
This framework conveniently covers the Myers-Briggs personality classifications of Introvert/Extrovert, Sensory/Intuitive, Feeling/Thinking and Judging/Perceiving.  And it is all in the pages of Romans 12.  More later. . .