Love through personality

Today I want to share a resource with you that I have enjoyed. Recently I have been doing a fair amount of research into the Myer-Briggs personality types. I’ve never been one to enjoy “boxing people”, and can be sceptical about personality models as a result. With any personality model, its important to see the individual underneath their “type”.

So why have I been getting into this one?

The reason why I’ve been enjoying reading into Myer-Briggs is that I find it helpful in my communication with my husband, as well as other family members and friends. It enables me to better understand their responses, motives, and interests. It helps me to relate positively, and not take offence. It is also a great tool of communication when the other person understands Myer-Briggs personalities, as you can then explain where you’re coming from in a less emotionally-attached way.

One of the best podcasts I’ve heard recently on it is how the different types receive and express love. I really enjoyed this podcast because it went beyond love being an emotion. They acknowledge the 5 Love Languages, and I also recommend that as a good tool. I’m focusing on Myer-Briggs

Scripture commands us to love one another. If we are to do this in a way the other person will receive it, then we need to know what will be meaningful for them. Have a listen:

How types say I love you_Personality Hacker

And if you want to see what your personality type is on the Myers-Brigg, then I recommend the following free test:

Free test_via 16personalities

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WHY all the Craziness???

Last time we were introduced to Ezekiel and the hard call on his life. God asked him to live a life that made him stand out in his community and become the butt of the joke. He was the village clown, the one that people ridiculed. Today we are going to look at why God has him do crazy actions – such as cooking his food over animal dung for over a year. We are going to ask why God didn’t allow him to foretell coming events with words.

Looking back to the Spheres of Society series, this topic seems appropriate following on the back of the sphere of communication. Remember when we looked at Communication in Scripture, we saw that our speech and actions go together.

So into Ezekiel:

What were some of the things he had to do? (We call them “enacted symbols”; see end of post for meaning of the symbols)

  1. Mute for 7 years (unable to speak unless God gave him set words to declare)
  2. Unable to leave his house (unless sent somewhere by God)
  3. Lie on his side and build a model of the city of Jerusalem for over a year
  4. Placed an iron griddle between where he lay and the city
  5. Set portions of food and water a day and none too appetising (to make his bread from wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and emmer), which he had to cook over dung.
  6. And so forth…

 So why did Ezekiel have to do these enacted symbols? (see end of post for expanded explanation)

Why could he not just proclaim that God’s judgement was coming upon Judah for their disobedience (the consequence of breaking their covenant/ contract with God)? Here are a few ideas of why they were important (and not just a way of making God’s servant, Ezekiel, look like a fool):

  1. Actions ALWAYS ALWAYS speak louder than words
  2. Actions serve as a memory aid
  3. Actions grab the attention
  4. Actions require obedience to be carried out

APPLICATION TIME:

Are you prepared to stand out in the midst of your culture? If God asked you to do something that your culture deemed ridiculous or foolish, would you be prepared to?

Next blog I’m going to share a testimony of obedience with you, which seemed stupid at the time but had far-reaching impact on my life.

 

Meaning behind the enacted symbols:

  1. Mute for 7 years (unable to speak unless God gave him set words to declare; meaning he could not defend himself or apologise to his wife for being a societal spectacle)
  2. Unable to leave his house (unless sent somewhere by God)
  3. Lie on his side and build a model of the city of Jerusalem (showing that the city would be besieged and would fall to the Babylonians; something that the Jews did not believe God would allow to happen)
    1. 390 days (left side)
    2. 40 days (right side)
    3. Placed an iron griddle between where he lay and the city (to symbolise an iron wall; Jerusalem being cut off from God)
    4. Set portions of food and water a day and none too appetising (to make his bread from wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and emmer), which he had to cook over dung (to symbolise want during the siege and that they would have to eat food unclean according to the Law).

Enacted symbols expanded:

  1. Actions ALWAYS ALWAYS speak louder than words
    1. If you want to know someone’s core beliefs then simply observe them for a couple of days; their actions will reveal their beliefs and priorities
    2. Actions serve as a memory aid
      1. Seeing an action triggers our remembrance
      2. When the event being represented actually happened, it validated everything that he has done; the people knew that Ezekiel had been proclaiming a message from God
      3. Actions grab the attention
        1. Think of TV advertisements today – they grab our attentions and draw us in. The people did not take heed to Ezekiel, but they all wanted to see what crazy thing he was going to do next.
        2. Actions require obedience to be carried out
          1. This one is for Ezekiel – for Ezekiel to do these things takes a tremendous amount of faith. He has lost his ability to communicate as he would and he is choosing everyday to communicate as God is asking of him.
          2. Crazy, unbelievable, unexplainable obedience

Sphere of Communication: 3 of 3

In the third and final part on the Sphere of Communication, I’d like us to consider freedom of speech and open communication.

3)      Freedom of speech; Freedom of choice

Most of us speak out of our convictions and this can lead us into passionate discussion when talking on a subject close to our heart, or when we discover someone holds a different point of view. We see in Scripture that we need to remember that God has given us all the freedom of both speech and choice

Jesus, the greatest communicator, never silenced anybody in the public forum. The only thing He silenced was demons, and they were telling the truth (about Him being the Son of God before Jesus wanted this revealed). God gave us the choice right back in Genesis 1 & 2 (shouldn’t eat from the tree, but can choose to disobey) and He never took this freedom of choice away. Jesus presented the truth, but His listeners chose what they believed.

We must also remember that truth is most powerful in a free forum. This should be reflected with economic and governmental freedom within nations. A government limiting this is an attempt to limit people’s rights to think and to learn and to form their own opinions. We have the choice to believe or not to believe.

In summary, communication should be:

  • Truthful
  • Life giving
  • Followed by/ reflected in action
  • Freely allowed
  • Unbiased and factual

Application: give people the right information so that they can make the choice; tell the truth so that people can decide. Don’t try to control people or twist the story so that people will believe what you want them to. Do not manipulate people and their thinking.

We share the Gospel by how we live in every area of society. Communicating the Gospel is not just about sharing the message of salvation; we share the Gospel by how we live.

 

 

Sphere of Communication: 2 of 3

In the first blog on communication we looked at how our words have power to build up and tear down; that they can bring life and communicate righteousness or cause hurt and pain. In the second part, we are going to look at how our actions and words fit together.

2)      Connecting words and actions

We see that it is important that our words are followed by action:

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (James 2:15-16)

And that words and actions are connected:

The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip. (Psalms 37:30-31)

In light of this, we are warned against making promises that we cannot keep. Rather than making promises, we should say we can or can’t and then be sure to follow through according to our word:

But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. (James 5:12)

Paul talks in Colossians about partnering loving action with gracious speech in evangelism – that we are to be gracious and not judgemental or hard – and that we are called to spread the Good News that we have heard (communicate it, not keep it to ourselves):

At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:2-6)

Application:

Is there something that you’ve said you would do and have not yet done? Maybe it was to mow the lawn or visit a friend with limited access to transport. Take a moment to write this in to your weekly planner.

Is there a promise you made rashly and did not live out? Can you get in touch with the person this week and apologise for your hasty vow?

Sphere of Communication; 1 of 3

This is a sphere that holds particular interest for me! One of the main reasons that drove me to complete the School of Biblical Studies in 2009 was that I wanted to know what was in the Word so that I could be more confident that I was conveying God’s truth through my writing.

I am sure that most of us would agree that our words reveal our much about our thoughts, and that our words are important. I think many Christians would also believe that our communication should convey truth. But what else can we glean from Scripture about communication? Quite a lot! Here’s a start:

What gems can be found in Scripture about how should we go about communication?

Note: Remember as we go that the sphere of communication is like that of arts and entertainment; it is weaved throughout Scripture rather than having passages where it can be seen to hold centre-stage.

1)      The Power of Words

Right from the start, we can see that words have power; God created the world through the power of His Word:

  • And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)
  • And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” (Genesis 1:6)
  • And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:9)

We have seen above that God’s words have power and that they can create, but what about ours? A great deal is said in the Bible about the tongue and how powerful our words can be. We see that the communication can be used to build up, or to break down, and that we are called to speak words of life:

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (James 3:5-10)

Proverbs, of course, speaks a great deal of the tongue and is a great place to start a study in to the power of words:

  • The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth. (Prov 10:20)
  • The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off. (Prov 10:31)
  • There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Prov 12:18)
  • Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. (Prov 12:19)
  • The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. (Prov 15:2)
  • A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. (Prov 15:4)

Application:

In what situation do you find it hard to speak, write, or otherwise communicate in love? With what person or people do you find it hard to speak words of life and encouragement? Who do you find difficult to build up?

Now for the hard part, what is one small step that you can take to modify your communication with them? How will you actively reign in your tongue? Perhaps you need to think of something you appreciate in them and keep this in mind as you talk. Or maybe you can spend some time considering their strengths and then share them one by one with the person over the course of a week.