Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Are You a Type "C" Personality?

Dear Friends,

God told me I needed to change my personality. I knew He was right and that it would be welcome news to everyone who knew me, but just how do you do that? Was God asking me to do the impossible? How do you change something that is so intrinsic to your very existence? Something that’s so ingrained, it defines who you are? I can change my outside appearance. That’s easy. I can change my hairstyle, shave off the beard, lose weight, get a tan and a whole new wardrobe and I would look different. People would mistake me for George Clooney and yet being a celebrity look-a-like would undoubtedly add a whole ‘nother layer of stress onto my life. But God didn’t want to change what I looked like, He wanted to change what I am. He wanted to roll up His sleeves and do some invasive spiritual surgery.

Back in the days before my retirement when I was a productive member of society, I would too often blast into work in the morning with an explosion of my type “A” personality. In the 1950's, two cardiologists developed a theory that there are two personality types which impact cardiovascular health. Type “A” are hard-driving, competitive, “short-fused,” impatient and intense. Type “B” are relaxed, easy-going, kick-back with low motivation and a focus not on achievements but on enjoying life. I soon realized that whenever people complained about me it was always about one of the classic characteristics of the type “A” personality. And when God me that I needed to change my personality, He told me I needed to have a type “C” personality and I knew in an instant what “C” meant. God wanted me to have a Christ-like personality.
Okay. But can I really change my personality? The obvious answer is yes I can do that because God would never tell me to do something that can’t be done. But I can’t do that on my own. Some of us try hard to change on our own in order to do “better,” and we find ourselves fighting helplessly against the power that binds us to sin. Romans 7:23-24 NLT Struggling with thoughts, behaviors, the things we say, the things we do. Struggling to change. Or we’ve become tired of the struggle and just gave up. Maybe we even created good excuses for our self. Too tired. Too old. Too set in our ways. Too stuck. But here’s a Kingdom Principle: if you ain’t dead, you ain’t done. If you ain’t dead that means only one thing. It means that God is not finished with you on Earth. When God’s finished with you here, He’s going to take you to heaven. But if you’re still on “this side of the dirt,” you’re not done! You are still His work in progress and you can change. But if that’s indeed true, why does changing ourselves just seem so difficult? Let’s take a closer look at this...

Sometimes a desire to change something about ourselves comes from our own self-examination. We look into our lives to see where we have fallen short and what we need to do better. Psychologists help us to determine what is working and tell us to do more of that. They also help us to understand what is not working well so that we can stop doing that. If we could exert the willpower to follow that advice, we would find that this therapeutic principle is the secret to sound mental health. But while therapists and self-help programs can help us to manage our behavior, they can’t bring about an intrinsic change at the spiritual level. For example, AA acknowledges that an alcoholic can change their behavior and stop drinking but they will always be an “alcoholic.” No therapist or program can effect true change at the intrinsic level of our being. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.

True, permanent and lasting change can only happen through the power of God and in the presence of God. He is not a long-distance God. God is not like the technical support person on the other side of the world in India helping you with that virus infecting your computer. God will be right beside you, helping you with that spiritual virus infecting your soul. But you need to come into His presence and what I mean by that is that you need to open yourself and invite Him in. That’s because God will not go where He is not wanted. 

So if you need God to do some spiritual surgery in your life, Step One is to invite God to rule and reign over your life. Some of you haven’t done that yet because you like to be the one in control. That’s fine and the choice is your’s. You can control your life or submit to God and let Him control it, but it’s “either/or.” Either you or God  will control your life and He always lets you make that choice. Step Two is to prayerfully invite the Holy Spirit to fill you with the presence of God because it is only in His presence that He forms us, transforms us and conforms us into the image and likeness of His Son Jesus.

During this season of Lent there may be some things that God wants to do in your life. Perhaps He wants you to have a Type “C” personality. If so, that could require some changes He wants to make. Some refinements He wants to do. In fact, it may be that God’s been wanting to get His hands on you for sometime now and you’ve been moving through life doing it your way and just staying out of His reach. But when you come into His presence, that’s right where He wants you. During this time of Lent, come close and spend some time with God. He’s not done with you. He’s still got great plans for you! Amen?

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