Hi Jim, I am hearing that there are certain personality types that just don't connect and cause civil war essentially. When I hear that I have to admit that my sense of what I know of Christ says that this is something that is essentially earthbound, this view point anyway. Why? Well because if that were the critirea for getting along or even loving one another who then who need the miraculous Spirit we have been given? Is not the reason mostly rooted in the mentality that we are still dipping back into the old well of the worldy mindset ? For what seperation do we actually have in Christ? I realize one person can realize this and the other not..or one can be saved and the other not have yet been saved, and maybe never will, but doesn't Paul cover that one too in just be in what you are in? If the answer were something having to do with the power of the flesh to get along or if it were all about the power of some level of sensuality or personality then what need would we EVER have of viewing one another according to the spirit and NOT accoriding to the flesh? It is just something I have been pondering for a very long time as my mind has been coming out of this confusion that was over my brain like a blanket...I am seeing more and more that things really are not as they appear..and in that if we are going by appearances...no one will ever be married, unless of course for reasons based soley on the flesh. Thoughts? Dunno if this even interests you or not...I just like to bounce stuff off... Adam
Hello, my brother Adam!! :)
I was glad to have received this mail, for it is good to hear from you.
There are those who view everything according to personality types. I obviously do not. However, I believe there is value in realizing that people do think and react differently, so much so that their behavior can be categorized and almost predicted according to type. The value I see comes in not making assumptions about what someone meant by either what they said or did based upon how we view things. That works in the reverse as well. For I can learn not to assume that the other person understands my words and/or actions according to the way I see them. I guess the bottom line for me in all this has been in continually pursuing an understanding between myself and another because I realize that we may easily be reading one another inaccurately.
Now, as far as claiming that differing personality types is the root cause behind people not getting along is, as you've suggested, fleshly wisdom. There is no doubt that two overtly headstrong people do often clash, making for a difficult relationship, but the love of God has made many strong relationships between such people. This is why Paul told the people to let the peace of Christ-which is the actual peace that he has brought to pass in himself-be the peace-making factor among those in Christ. I'm all with you in this miraculous power of God's Spirit that does work within us.
I suppose I see a big difference between having a realization of the differences that many call personality types and using the personality framework to decide on who might be able to get along with one another.
You are so right in saying that a personality type is not a criteria for loving one another in Christ. That is indeed earthbound reasoning. It's just like a law.
I think that alot of this ties into the value system we learned in the empty man. What do you think? Adam
Indeed, the old-man value system would have us view all things according to its principles rather than according to the new creation. I have suspected for a long time now that we began learning according to this system before we took our first breath. After all, we were conceived in the realm of the fleshly mind. How could our education not fall in line with its precepts, even before we had any notion as to what a precept was? I do not believe that our education in the wisdom of this world began when we were able to understand what was being taught, but that it began from the moment of our conception.
My own distinct patterns of reaction and behavior may have gotten refined and even altered over the years, but I believe that the framework of my fleshly cognitive existence began with my beginning in the womb. Now, I have no doubt that God is in control of all things and that he has worked from before that beginning in even the smallest detail, but I also know that he is not in the business of changing the nature of the fleshly mind.
The example of Jacob and Esau popped up in my thoughts here. In the fleshly realm, Esau dominated over Jacob. So much so that in their fleshly birth, Esau fought to get out first. Somewhere in the course of their fleshly development, Esau slowly dominated so that he became the elder of the two. I do not believe that God has to intervene to make one fetus dominate over another in the womb. It's just going to happen. It is the way of the fleshly mind. Paul even made the point that God made his choice before any cognition came into play:
And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, "THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER." Romans 9:10-12
I find it interesting that Paul did not suggest that God made one to the be older, but simply that the older would serve the younger. Could he make one to be the older, in terms of the flesh? I'm sure he can. But I do not see that as having any bearing upon the matter of his choice. Instead, I see the wonderful contrast of God totally confounding whatever can be produced in the realm of man. Consider the Genesis account:
Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If it is so, why then am I this way?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. The LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger." When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau's heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them. When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Genesis 25:21-28
Notice that the struggle between these two boys took place way before birth. The conflict between the two was apparently so intense that Rebekah inquired of God as to why this was happening to her. God told her why the struggle was so intense, but I have to wonder if she passed this on to her husband. If so, his reactions may have been based upon fighting against the prophecy.
According to the value system of man, Isaac chose Esau over Jacob because he was a man's man. Now, Jacob was probably a Momma's boy, but Rebekah's favor seems to have been primarily based upon God's pronouncement rather than upon the outward appearance.
In this case, despite the natural development of a firstborn in this world, with all the inherent bestowal of favor, was purposely overridden to make the case that God's choice has nothing to do with anything of the old-man value system. Instead, it pleases our father to constantly confound the value system of this world by displaying true worth in whatever is deemed inferior and insignificant. In this, I see the whole matter of personality types as a development of the fleshly realm, one that God uses to display the true value and reality of life. For he purposely makes the strong of this world to glory in its weakness, the weak of this world he makes to glory in the strength of Christ. It makes no difference which type we may find ourselves more closely lined up with, for God will magnify his glory in us by overwhelming us in the face of that which we assumed to be the standard of value.