Episode 1. You are Destined to Shine
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Each one of us is different; we have different strengths and different weaknesses. What if you could learn more about your strengths and deal a bit better with each of your natural weaknesses? Just …
Each one of us is different; we have different strengths and different weaknesses. What if you could learn more about your strengths and deal a bit better with each of your natural weaknesses? Just imagine what your life would look like.
A few years back I co authored a book with a good friend of mine Keith Henry called My Personality GPS. That book’s all about understanding your personality type so that you can live your life to the full. Now Keith had been doing a lot of research on personality types and of course there are many systems out there for people to get a handle on exactly who they are.
But Keith approached it from a Biblical perspective because and here’s the theory, if God made each one of us to be who we are then wouldn’t He have something to say about that. Who we are and how we can make the most of who He’s made us to be and in fact He does have something to say about that.
In Romans chapter 12 the Apostle Paul talks about what you might have heard people call our motivational giftings. I guess a more common term these days that we’d use is our personality types, in other words our natural motivations, how we’ve been wired on the inside. Here’s what He actually says, Romans chapter 12, verses 3 to 8:
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourselves more highly than you ought to think but to think with sober judgement each one according to the measure of faith that had been assigned by God. For as in one body we have many members and not all members have the same function, so we who are many are one body in Christ and individually we’re members of one another.
We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, prophecy in proportion to faith, ministry in ministering, the teacher in teaching, the exhorter in exhortation, the giver in generosity, the leader in diligence, the compassionate in cheerfulness.
So what God’s saying here is that we each have a gift according to the grace that He’s given to us, according to His plan and His purpose. And we should get on and use that gift that He’s given us. You know what? According to God the teacher should get on and teach, the leader should get on and lead diligently, the giver should give generously, those with compassion should get out there and show compassion cheerfully.
Now before we started writing a book together, Keith and I, we sat down and we talked about it. I kind of realised that each person is wired differently back then but it wasn’t until I interviewed some people, one from each of these nine personality types, I actually arranged for nine different people to come in and chat with me on the radio program. You can listen to those interviews at our website www.christianityworks.com in the series called My Personality GPS.
I have to tell you I was completely shocked by what these people said. I asked each one of them pretty much the same questions and yet they gave me completely different answers. I knew that people were different but really deep down I hadn’t realised how profoundly different we all are.
And those profound differences completely change how we see the world, how we process what’s going on around us and how we respond in different situations. Every time I think about that experience of interviewing those nine people I feel that sense of shock of realising how deeply and profoundly different they all were.
Most of us, I know I do this, kind of realise we’re different but our default position is that everybody we meet should see the world the way we do. If they don’t there’s something wrong with them. Well that’s a mistake that we make at our own peril.
The other thing that struck me was that each motivational gifting that God talks about here in the Bible in Romans chapter 12 – the prophet, the minister or the server, the teacher, the exalter, or the encourager, the giver, the leader and the person with compassion – not only do they have different strengths but they also have different weaknesses.
For instance a leader, which is my primary personality type can be brilliant at crashing through brick walls and making things happen, that’s why we need leaders but on the other hand that strength can be their weakness because often leaders can roll over the top of people damaging their feelings and ruining relationships.
Someone with the gift of compassion is wonderful at helping us when we’re down, when we’re in need but because they have such a deep sensitivity they can very easily become bruised and hurt by even the slightest bump in a relationship causing them to withdraw and become emotionally depressed and isolated.
See each personality type is a double-edged sword if you like, a combination of a natural strength and natural weaknesses. Well none of this is a surprise to God because God made us. Add to those natural strengths and weaknesses the different experiences that each one of us has been through in life, good and bad, and there you have a unique person shaped by their natural gift or their natural personality type and their experiences.
And for many of us we never really get a handle on our weaknesses. We may feel their consequences but do we really know what they are and how to come up stronger in those particular areas of our lives. For most people the answer is no. See I have this theory, I don’t believe that God wants us to be robbed of the great life that He’s planned and purposed for each one of us by repeatedly over and over and over again suffering the consequences of our natural weaknesses.
I actually believe that God wants to help us in our weakness by bringing His truth and His Holy Spirit to bear in our lives so that we can truly shine and be all that He’s made us to be. How do I know that? Have a listen to what Jesus said to His disciples; you can read it in John chapter 15 and in verse 8.
My Father is glorified by this, that you shall bear much fruit and become my disciples.
See God wants us to shine, He wants us to excel, He wants us to do that because it brings Him great glory. Now please I’m not preaching a healthy, wealthy and wise distortion of the Gospel here, the Bible also says that anyone who follows Jesus will go through many trials, they’re going to have some tough times, that’s a promise that Jesus made.
But through the ups and downs, the summer’s and winter’s of life God wants us to bear much fruit in due season, to achieve many things, to shine with His glory in our lives. Do you see that? I wonder how you’re processing that truth right now sitting where you are, feeling what you’re feeling, looking at where your life is right at the moment.
I know some people will struggle with that because this part of your life might be a mess or that part of your life mightn’t be quite as it should be and so often those messes in our lives are consequences of our natural weaknesses. If you’re someone who is prone to fits of anger as I used to be, that was my Achilles heel, then you’ll be living out the consequences of that which are likely to be having very few friends and very few if any deep, close, intimate personal relationships. There’s just one example of a consequence of a natural weakness that can just ruin your life.
And that’s where lots of people are, robbed of an abundant life, the life that Jesus came to bring them because they haven’t yet dealt with their natural weaknesses. In fact not only have they not dealt with them they’ve come to the conclusion that that’s just how I am, that’s how I’ve been wired, I’m just an angry person or I’m just an unforgiving person or I’m just an emotionally fragile person, whatever it is, and that’s what I’m stuck with and there’s nothing I can do about it and I’m just going to have to live with that.
Does any of that sound even vaguely familiar? Well it’s a lie, it’s the devil’s lie because it’s so completely not true. Jesus said this of Himself, Luke chapter 4, verses 18 and 19. He said:
I have come to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim the year of the Lords favour.
Friends, that’s for me, that’s for you. So over this coming two weeks in this series that I’ve called Yes An Old Dog Can Learn New Tricks we’re going to discover for each of the nine personality types that the Bible talks about, how you can deal with some of those natural weaknesses and limitations of yours, how you can bear much fruit, how you can overcome your limitations so instead of constantly living out their consequences you’ll be shining a light into the darkness, shining the way you were always meant to shine.
Is that worth doing do you think?