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Wednesday 9th of November 2022
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Perfect Relationship : 24 Tools for Building BRIDGES to Harmony and Taking Down WALLS of Conflict in our Relationships – Understanding Your Temperament and that of others Episode 3 part 2 – Strengthening our Weaknesses
Hello Friends, welcome to our episode 3 part 2 today.
If you missed our last post on Friday titled, “Perfect Relationship : 24 Tools for Building BRIDGES to Harmony and Taking Down WALLS of Conflict in our Relationships – Intimacy with God in the secret place – Episode 4 – How God brings us into intimacy with Him through STORMS of life – True story by Bob Sorge part 1″
Follow this link – https://www.otakada.org/perfect-relationship-24-tools-for-building-bridges-to-harmony-and-taking-down-walls-of-conflict-in-our-relationships-intimacy-with-god-in-the-secret-place-episode-4-how-god-bring/
I would like to make a categorical statement here concerning conflict and storms in relationships. This is it – You are going to have conflicts and you are going to have storms plenty in your Relationships with between – Husband and wife, children, Sibling, extended family members, in-laws, neighbors, communities, with church members, pastor’s and their members..the nation as a whole and between nations as well.
God does not create conflicts, but God permits conflict so that we can grow and be productive.
The pruning process as typified by Jesus in John 15 is a classical example of how God cuts us back so that we can be more productive in our relationship with Him and with others. Read it! It’s all about relationships ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters!
A relationship without conflict is a relationship waiting to collapse workout warning ⚠️ sign.
If you say, “I want zero conflict in my relationship,” is equivalent to saying, “I want to learn to ride a bicycle without falling or I want to learn to walk without falling.”
Conflicts in relationships is not a sign that the relationship is failing, it is a cry for growth! It is when we refuse to respond that failure is inevitable.
You cannot pray conflict away. You can manage them. One core ingredient to harmonious relationship Comfort and I have learnt within the last 22 years was that we made up our minds at the beginning to pray together and to keep the communication line going no matter the conflicts that is in the front burner. We resolved 99% conflicts through the written word of God.
We kept the horizontal and the vertical communication lines between us open and also between us and God.
In today’s episode,we will be exploring the basic temperament of 4 comprising – Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, and Phlegmatics, which were acquired through the adamic fall and the nine (9) temperament of the fruit of the Holy Spirit as we look at the role of the Holy Spirit, the need for continues infilling of Holy Spirit in helping us develop the 9 temperament fruit in Galatians 5:21-23.
You will also secure opportunity to be baptized in the Holy Spirit in this episode for those who haven’t done so and are willing to follow the five (5) step process outlined in this post.
If you have not carried out the temperament test yet, find it in the first part of Episode 3 and also in this episode as well.
In our home of 6 members, non of us share same temperament. As we renew our minds, the traits keeping changing. It is a daily growth process if we are willing to partner with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit helps us to strengthen our weaknesses and we will see how this is done.
We will be exploring Strengthening our Weaknesses in our Relationships as encouraged by Apostle Paul in Romans 12.
The process of renewal of the mind as depicted in chapter 12 of Romans centres around making changes in our minds that will help foster peaceful relationships within and outside our circles 🔴⭕ on how to relate with one another in a perfect relationship as God ordained it to be.
Why is there so much talk and writing about relationships in the scripture? It is because relationship is the sine qua non for God’s kingdom because Kingdom matters rises and falls depending on the quality of our relationships.
That is why Jesus said we will be known as His disciples by the love we have for one another (John 13:35) and God is love ( 1 John 4:7-21).
We can’t have God kind of unity in the body of Christ without God kind of relationship. We can’t have God kind of relationship without God kind of love..
Let’s look at Romans 12 in detail and then i will bring you how we can strengthen our weaknesses so that our relationship can be meaning as we explore our temperament and that of others with whom we relate so that we can work and walk together in unity and reflect kingdom core principles.
I will b highlighting some key words in Paul’s admonision in Romans 12 that relate to Strengthening our Weaknesses.
12 I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
3 For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimateand think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.
4 For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use,
5 So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another].
6 Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He whose gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith;
7 [He whose gift is] practical service, let him give himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching;
8 He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness.
9 [Let your] love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good.
10 Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another.
11 Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord.
12 Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer.
13 Contribute to the needs of God’s people [sharing in the necessities of the saints]; pursue the practice of hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief].
16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits.
If you look at the scriptures highlighted above, you will see that there is need to strengthen our weaknesses relative to our unique temperament so that we can be better ambassador of Christ here on earth.
If you don’t know your temperament, following the last post to download the form or run test online via this link:
Let’s explore the temperament test from Tim Lahaye below that is 92% accurate and depects areas of strengths and weaknesses for further evaluation.
Here is the printable form link:https://mobidrive.com/sharelink/p/5hEW8PTys6Kcm4h7FgZOlc4e0odpn4c3htLfIgElA1cp
Below is another temperament analysis link online that can give you an idea of strengths and weaknesses that you can use to evaluate yourself and others via this link: https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test
Note: This test can be conducted every two years to see your level of growth in the Lord as the Holy Spirit help you in developing the nine fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Better still,you can visit the part 1 of Episode 3 via this link for full details:
Now let’s explore how we do that from Tim Lahaye book, ” Why you act the way you do”
Strengthening Your Weaknesses
One thing about temperament—it never changes. If your parents’ genes combined to make you a ChlorSan, a MelPhleg, or a SanMelPhleg, you will never be anything else. Like your appearance, height, and IQ, your temperament will be a part of you as long as you live. And remember, your temperament probably has more to do with your current behavior than anything else in your life. The rest is the result of your childhood training, home life, education, motivation, and other things. The following formula will put it all together for you.
As you look over this list, you are probably stuck with the realization that you have very little control over most of the ingredients in this formula. Don’t be deceived! It is true that you cannot change your temperament, but there are three things in that formula that you do control and so can improve your temperament and change your life: motivation, mental attitude, and habit.
Your Motivational Potential
When God created Adam, he made him unique from all other living creatures. He gave him a “soul.” This soul not only has a capacity for God but is a source of external motivation that is all but untapped by most people today. But it does account for the tremendous transformation that occurs in people when they have a “born again” experience with Jesus Christ To understand this, you must visualize the four parts of human nature as described in the Bible.
Jesus Christ knew more about human nature than anyone who has ever lived. (He should, for he was the Creator of man in the first place.) And he said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Mark 12:30). Notice carefully the four aspects of human nature: heart, soul, mind, strength. Notice these on the following chart.
Your inherited temperament probably resides in the heart, where it influences the method of your thinking—not the content It can be influenced by the mind, soul, and heart It is what the Bible means when it speaks of “the flesh” or “nature” or “natural man.”
THE NATURAL MAN
Christ is not the natural man; he is outside man’s life. He knocks at the door of our life through the convicting of the Holy Spirit in preaching, tracts, radio, television, personal witness, etc. If God’s Spirit is not within him, he will experience the guilt, fear, emptiness, misery, purposelessness, confusion, and other negative things pictured above. The amount of negative feelings will depend on his willfulness and sin. His greatest need is his emptiness—his unfilled “God-shaped vacuum” that Pascal said was in the heart of every man and can be filled with no one save Jesus Christ This emptiness that plagues mankind all through life cheats man not only out of God’s daily presence in his life but also out of His power to improve his temperament.
God never forces his way into a person’s life; he leaves it to an individual to decide whether or not to receive Christ as his Savior and Lord. But if you believe Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again the third day, you can humbly repent of your sins and submit your will to him by praying a simple but beautiful prayer like this: “O God, I know I am a sinner and have willfully disobeyed you many times. I believe Jesus died for my sins and rose again that I might have eternal life. Therefore, I invite you to come into my life to both save me from my sins and to direct my future. Today I give myself to you.”
“As many as received him [Jesus], to them gave he power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12). All who believe in him are born again and have two natures. The new one is the new man in Christ, opening up a whole new source of power. The old nature still wants to sin.
Both natures are alive. Which one is dominant depends on which one you feed the most If you feed the old nature the food of the sin-sick culture that surrounds us, don’t be surprised when the weaknesses of your temperament dominate you. If, however, you feed your new nature the spiritual food of the Word of God and things pertaining to God, your new nature will become so dominant it will overcome the natural weakness of your temperament, enabling God to make maximum use of your inherited strengths or talents.
Who’s in Control?
We hear a lot in our humanistic culture about “taking control of your life.” That sounds good at first, but if you look deeper into this cult of the self-acrualizers, you will find the worst sin of all—selfishness.
God wants to control your life. He makes no secret of that He challenges us, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:1-2, NIV). Who controls your life? It is not hard to tell. Ask yourself, “Do I do what Jesus Christ wants or what I want?” Jesus said, “If you love me keep my commandments.” It is ridiculous to sing “Oh, How I Love Jesus” while doing as you please with your life. When Christ is in control, you will do what he tells you in his Word.
Three Modern Life-Styles
There are only three possible life-styles today. You should analyze which is yours and see if the results of that kind of life are what you really want.
Note the similarity of results in the two life-styles pictured above where self is on the throne. The only real difference between 1 and 2 is that Christ was at one time invited into the Christian’s life and he will go to heaven when he dies. But he is as miserable as the individual who doesn’t know Christ In fact, sometimes he is more miserable because the Holy Spirit can convict him from within. Both of these individuals will be dominated by their natural temperament weaknesses.
The third drawing illustrates the individual who has surrendered the center of his life to Christ (or most of the time lives this way—no one is perfect). We all give in to the flesh on occasion, but at least this person has the capability of living up to his divine potential.
How to Strengthen Your Weaknesses
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17, NIV).
One of the fundamental premises of the Christian life is, “When a natural individual is indwelt by a supernatural power, he ought to be different!” Think about that If God is really in your life, you will be different than if he were not.
But it is also true that growth takes place slowly. You don’t see much growth in a fruit tree on a daily basis, but there is growth if the tree is alive. So it is with a Christian. The growth in us is painfully slow sometimes, but it does take place.
The Power to Change
What will be different after the Holy Spirit of God comes to reside in you? Your looks? Unfortunately not Will you get smarter? No! What changes? Your emotions. The Holy Spirit of God brings emotional stability into our lives.
Paul describes it in these words: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23, NIV). As you study these verses, you discover nine specific strengths that God provides the Christian to enable him to overcome his emotional weaknesses. The Spirit-controlled Christian will be an emotionally controlled Christian.
The nine emotional strengths of the Spiritfilled temperament make any temperament what God originally intended. It does not matter what one’s natural temperament is. Any man filled with the Holy Spirit whether sanguine, choleric, melancholy, or phlegmatic, is going to manifest these nine spiritual characteristics. He will have his own natural strengths and maintain his individuality, but the Spirit will transform his weaknesses.
These nine characteristics represent what God wants each one of his children to be. We shall examine each in detail. There is a longing in the heart of every child of God to live this kind of a life. It is not the result of man’s effort, but the supernatural result of the Holy Spirit controlling every area of a Christian.
The first characteristic in God’s catalog of Spiritfilled temperament traits is love—love for God and for our fellowmen. The Lord Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…. Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30, NIV).
A love for God that causes a man to be more interested in the kingdom of God than in the material kingdom in which he lives is supernatural, for man by nature is a greedy creature. The Christian who says he is “filled with the Spirit,”. but is unmoved by the suffering of others, is kidding himself. If we have the love of God flowing through us, it will benefit others around us.
I must also point out that the love God’s Spirit provides makes us want to obey him. If you would like to test your love for God, try this simple method given by the Lord Jesus: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Just ask yourself, “Am I obedient to his commandments as revealed in his Word?” If not, you are not filled with the Holy Spirit.
The second temperament characteristic of the Spiritfilled man is joy. One theologian gave this comment concerning the gracious emotion of joy: “Yes, joy is one of the cardinal Christian virtues; it deserves a place next to love. Pessimism is a grave fault This is not fatuous joy such as the world accepts; it is the enduring joy that bubbles up from all the grace of God in our possession, from the blessedness that is ours, that is undimmed by tribulation….”
The joy provided by the Holy Spirit is not limited by circumstances. No Christian can have joy if he depends upon the circumstances of life. The Spiritfilled life is characterized by a “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith,”
which causes us to know that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28, NIV).
In the Scriptures, “joy” and “rejoicing” are not the result of self-effort, but are the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. “You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound” (Ps. 4:7, NIV). The Apostle Paul, writing from a prison dungeon, said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4, NIV). Any man who can rejoice in prison has to have a supernatural source of power!
This supernatural joy is available for any Christian regardless of his basic or natural temperament Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11). This is only possible as we are filled with the Holy Spirit.
Martin Luther said, “God does not like doubt and dejection. He hates dreary doctrine, gloomy and melancholy thought God likes cheerful hearts. Christ says: ‘Rejoice, for your names are written in heaven.’”
The third temperament trait of the Spiritfilled man is peace. The preceding verses in Galatians 5 describe not only the works of the natural man without the Spirit but also his emotions. His emotional turbulence is described by “… hatred, variance (strivings), emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies.” We see that the further man gets from God, the less he knows of peace.
The “peace” spoken of here is really twofold. It is peace with God and the peace of God. The Lord Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (John 14:27). The peace he leaves us is peace with God. “My peace I give unto you” is the peace of God, for in the same verse he defines it as the peace of an untroubled heart: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” And the preceding verse describes the coming of the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit is the source of peace.
Peace with God is the result of salvation by faith. Man outside of Jesus Christ knows nothing of peace in relationship with God, because his sin is ever before him and he knows he is accountable before God at the Judgment However, when this individual takes Jesus Christ at his word and invites him into his life as Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ not only comes in as he promised to do (Rev. 3:20), but immediately cleanses all his sin (1 John 1:7, 9). “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).
The peace of God, the antidote to worry, is not as automatically possessed by Christians as the peace with God. This peace, enabling one to be untroubled in the face of difficult circumstances, is illustrated by the Lord Jesus who was sound asleep in the lower part of the ship while the twelve disciples were frightened beyond rationality. Many are prone to worry, further complicating their emotional, physical, and spiritual life, while those who believe God get a good night’s sleep, awaken refreshed and available for God’s use the next day.
Just becoming a Christian does not spare us from the difficult circumstances of life. However, the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives can supply us with one of life’s greatest treasures: the peace of God, in spite of any circumstances. The Apostle Paul had this in mind when he wrote the words, “Be careful [worried or anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). The Holy Spirit longs to give such peace to every believer.
The fourth temperament trait of the Spiritfilled man is longsuffering (also known as patience or endurance). It can be characterized by an ability to bear injuries or suffer reproof or affliction without answering in kind. As the Apostle Peter said about the Lord Jesus, “… who, when he was reviled, reviled not again.” A long-suffering person is one who can do the menial, forgotten, and difficult tasks of life graciously—as unto the Lord—without complaining or seething. He finishes his task or suffers affronts while manifesting the loving Spirit of Christ.
The fifth characteristic of the Spiritfilled temperament is described in the King James Version as gentleness. This is a thoughtful, polite, gracious, considerate, understanding act of kindness stemming from a tender heart. The world in which we live knows little of such tenderheartedness. It is the result of the compassion of the Holy Spirit for a lost and dying humanity.
The Lord Jesus’ gentle spirit contrasted sharply with the disciples’ cruel attitude toward the children who had been brought by their parents to be blessed by him. The Scripture tells us that the disciples rebuked those who brought them, but Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not” (Mark 10:13-14).
This gentle characteristic of the Holy Spirit never asks such questions as, “How often must I forgive my brother when he sins against me?” or, “Isn’t there a limit to how much a person can stand?” The Holy Spirit is able to give gentleness in the face of all kinds of pressures.
Jesus, who possessed the Holy Spirit “without measure,” pictured himself as a shepherd gently caring for injured sheep; and he, through his followers, tenderly cares today.
The sixth characteristic of the Spiritfilled man is called “goodness.” This is benevolence in its purest sense. It includes hospitality and all acts of goodness that flow from an unselfish heart that is more interested in giving than receiving. Instead of bringing joy to someone else’s life by an act of kindness, the self-centered person sinks deeper and deeper in the slough of despondency and gloom. D. L Moody once stated that it was his custom, after presenting himself to the Holy Spirit and asking to be led of the Spirit, to act upon those impulses which came to his mind, provided they did not violate any known truth of Scripture. Generally speaking, that is a very good rule to follow, for it pays rich dividends in mental health in the life of the giver.
The seventh trait of the Spiritfilled man is faith, a complete abandonment to God and an absolute dependence upon him. This is a perfect antidote to fear, which causes worry, anxiety, and pessimism. Some commentators suggest that more than faith is involved—namely, faithfulness or dependability. A man who has Spirit-inspired faith will be faithful and dependable. Many of God’s people, like the nation of Israel, waste years in the desert of life because they do not believe God. Far too many Christians have “grasshopper vision.” They are like the ten faithless spies who saw the giants in the land of Canaan and came home to cry, “We are as grasshoppers in their sight.” The Bible teaches that there are two sources of faith. The first source is the Word of God in the life of the believer. Romans 10:17 states, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The second is the Holy Spirit Faith is a fruit of the Spirit If you find that you have a temperament that is conducive to doubts, indecision, and fear, then as a believer you can look to the filling of the Holy Spirit to give you a heart of faith which will dispel the emotions and actions of your natural nature, including fear, doubt, and anxiety. It will take time, however, habits are binding chains, but God gives us the victory in Christ Jesus. “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart wait, I say, on the Lord” (Ps. 27:14).
The eighth temperament trait of the Spiritfilled man is meekness. The natural man is proud, egotistical, and selfcentered; but when the Holy Spirit fills the life of an individual, he will be humble, mild, submissive, and easily entreated.
The greatest example of meekness is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. He was the Creator of the universe, and yet was willing to humble himself, take on the form of a servant, and become subject to the whims of humanity, even to the point of death, that he might purchase our redemption by his blood. Here we see the Creator of man buffeted, ridiculed, abused, and spat upon by his own creation. Yet he left us an example of not reviling again.
Meekness is not natural for us. Only the supernatural indwelling Spirit of God could cause any of us to react to physical or emotional persecution in meekness. It is a natural tendency to assert oneself, but even the most angry temperament can be controlled by the filling of the Holy Spirit and made to manifest this admirable trait of meekness.
The final temperament characteristic of the Spiritfilled believer is self-control. The King James Version translates it “temperance.” Someone has defined it as “self controlled by the Holy Spirit.”
Self-control will solve the Christian’s problem of emotional outbursts such as rage, anger, fear, and jealousy, and cause him to avoid emotional excesses of any kind. The Spiritcontrolled temperament will be one that is consistent, dependable, and well-ordered.
It has occurred to me that all four of the basic temperament types have a common difficulty that will be overcome by the Spiritfilled trait of self-control. That weakness is an inconsistent or ineffective devotional life. No Christian can be mature in Christ, steadily filled with the Holy Spirit, and usable in the hand of God unless he regularly feeds on the Word of God.
Mr. Sanguine is too restless and weak-willed by nature to be consistent in anything, much less in getting up a few minutes early to have a regular time of Bible reading and prayer. Mr. Choleric is by nature such a self-confident individual that even after he is converted it takes some time for him to realize what the Lord Jesus meant when he said, “Without me, ye can do nothing.” Mr. Melancholy is perhaps the most likely of the four to be regular in his devotional life, except that his analytical ability often sends him off in the quest of some abstract, theologically hair-splitting truth rather than letting God speak to him concerning his personal needs. Mr. Phlegmatic is prone to recommend a regular quiet time as a necessary part of the Christian life, but if his slow, indolent, and often indifferent inclination is not disciplined by the Holy Spirit he will never quite get around to a regular feeding on God’s Word.
As you look at these nine admirable traits of the Spiritfilled man, you not only get a picture of what God wants you to be, but what he is willing to make you in spite of your natural temperament It should, however, be borne in mind that no amount of self-improvement or self-effort can bring any of these traits into our lives without the power of the Holy Spirit From this we conclude that the most important single thing in the life of any Christian is to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
It is my conviction that God has given us at least one strength of the Spirit for every human weakness.
The Needs of the Sanguine Temperament
Sparky Sanguine needs at least six fruits of strengths of the Spirit to be the man or woman God wants him to be. He is by nature loving or compassionate, so he doesn’t need that, though the Spirit of God will direct and purify that love. He also is by nature joyful, so the Spirit doesn’t have to supply joy. He also has a natural “goodness” trait; that is, he loves to do good things for other people.
Peace, however, is another matter. Sanguines are so restless by nature that they need the supernatural peace of God that only the Holy Spirit can supply. Whenever you see a combustible sanguine face pressure in an attitude of peace, you are looking at a miracle of God.
Long-suffering, which basically means endurance, is foreign to the nature of a sanguine. He usually leaves a sea of unfinished projects behind him unless filled with the Spirit.
The bull-in-the-china-shop traits of sanguines are somehow replaced by the gentleness of the Spirit of God One evidence of this is in their conversation. By nature they are blunt loud, hurtful in their humorous treatment of others, seldom aware of how they have injured those who bear the brunt of their jokes. The gentleness of the Spirit of God will soften their injurious tongue.
One of the chief problems of Sparky Sanguine is ego. To him, by nature, he is the greatest But when the spirit of meekness controls his life, the sanguine ceases to think more highly of himself than he ought to, but rather has a streak of humility burning in his soul, another evidence of the supernatural power of God.
Some of the lesser traits of a sanguine personality are his secret fears and insecurities. To such individuals faith is a wonderful source of blessing. I have seen God’s Spirit not only supply the love-starved spirit of a sanguine, but give him courage in the face of adversity.
The number one need of the sanguine is self-control. We have seen that his natural problem of lack of self-discipline usually proves his undoing. We all know capable, lovable, charismatic sanguines who never live up to their potential and destroy themselves by lack of discipline.
The Needs of the Choleric Temperament
If you listen to the hard-driving, activity-prone choleric you might get the feeling he doesn’t have emotional needs. Don’t you believe it. These insensitive, caustic people have many needs and everyone around them wishes they would get help somewhere. I have noticed that the choleric is the only one of the temperaments that has a specific need for seven of the nine “fruits” or strengths of the Holy Spirit.
We have already seen that the choleric is self-disciplined and long-suffering by nature. You will recall we said he was strong-willed, determined, goal-oriented, and persistent These traits stand in good stead when controlled by the Holy Spirit, for he is more likely to follow Jesus fully, energetically, and consistently. But even here he is vulnerable to mistaking his self-will for the will of God.
The besetting temptation of choleric Christians is to set their minds on doing something and persistently push for it without knowing whether or not it is really the will of God. This may produce a seemingly productive Christian worker, but it does not make a happy Christian, nor does it make the best use of his talents. A Spiritfilled choleric will always outperform a carnal choleric. Like every other temperament, Mr. Choleric desperately needs the filling of the Holy Spirit.
The first and primary need of a choleric’s temperament is loυe and compassion. His insensitive and underdeveloped emotional nature is a real challenge to the work of the Holy Spirit Love is not a static emotion. That is, you cannot love without being motivated to do something to express it; and the object of our expression when that love comes from the Holy Spirit will always be other people. The choleric who manifests love to his family and associates is manifesting the supernatural strength of the Holy Spirit in control of his temperament.
Although cholerics are extremely hard to please by nature, they are not an unhappy lot as long as they’re busy working toward one of their goals in life. The joy the Holy Spirit supplies is not related to man’s effort, but will characterize the choleric even in the face of adversity.
When the Holy Spirit fills cholerics’ lives, they will still be activity-bound, but there is a sense of peace and a loss of that frenetic force that often drives them to an early grave. Cholerics desperately need peace with God.
Whenever you find a gentle choleric, you find a walking illustration of the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit of God, for that is not their natural forte.
The best place to manifest that Spirit-induced gentleness is in their speech patterns. No one can be more caustic and cutting than a choleric. And when the choleric tongue is modified to gracious speech and gentle approval, you know he is controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Cholerics need goodness. That is, they need to be involved in the goodness of God. It is important to them to invest their lives in something so worthwhile it lifts them into a new dimension of effectiveness and productivity. The Spirit of God alone provides that for a Christian choleric.
Interestingly enough, cholerics are not fearful people; they have tons of self-confidence. However, one of the lessons they must learn early in their Christian life is, “not by might, nor by power [nor even by their choleric spirit], but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.”
I have found that the temptation to which many cholerics give vent is to rush off in their own direction instead of putting their faith in the living God and following him.
A choleric is not meek by nature. Cholerics universally equate meekness and weakness. It is a happy day for the choleric who understands that God will not tolerate a haughty, proud spirit, but will bring such individuals down and humble them. It is much better for a choleric to humble himself under the mighty hand of God and to develop meekness before the Holy Spirit has to do it for him.
The Needs of the Melancholy Temperament
God used more melancholies in the Bible than all the other temperaments put together! That should be good news to the average melancholy individual who is often plagued by feelings of inadequacy in spite of recognized talents and creativity. It has long been a mystery to me that those melancholy individuals who are endowed by their Creator with the greatest number of talents seem to have the least confidence in themselves. This is probably due to their everlasting tendency toward self-criticism and selfcondemnation.
In spite of that, however, down through the years, both in the Old and New Testaments and in the history of Christianity, God has transformed many a self-sacrificing, gentle melancholy into a faithful, consistent servant when once filled with the Holy Spirit Melancholies don’t need a great deal of longsuffering and self-control, for if their motivation is oriented by the Spirit of God and they are instructed by the Word of God, they make extremely effective Christian workers known not for their flamboyant style, but for their self-sacrificing consistent spirit It seems easier to challenge a melancholy to a lifetime of service for Jesus than any other temperament That too, is probably because of their natural tendency toward selfsacrifice. The genuineness of making a lifetime investment in a cause greater than oneself is probably what does it However, I’m not blind to the fact that they nevertheless are in need of five specific fruits from the Holy Spirit.
Nothing turns a melancholy’s life around like the loυe that is characteristic of the Spiritfilled life. By nature a melancholy is self-centered; his tendency toward perfectionism makes him very impatient with the idiosyncrasies and carelessness of his fellowmen. But when the Holy Spirit fills him with the love of Christ love literally transforms his nature.
Joy is an absolute necessity for every melancholy, to replace his naturally morose, moody, griping spirit It seems difficult for melancholies to understand that they must reflect the joy of the Lord. However, once that concept grips their heart, it can have a transforming effect on their entire being and make them delightful individuals to be around.
The peace of the Holy Spirit is a welcome tonic to the melancholy, whose inner thoughts fluctuate from criticism arid condemnation, to hostility and revenge, and back to suspicion and fear. You can well imagine the influence of the pervading Spirit of God’s peace that strengthens this aspect of the melancholy temperament.
It is absolutely essential for the melancholy to invest his life sacrificially in the doing of goodness for other people. Fortunately, once he is filled with love that gets his eyes off himself, his next objective is to apply this new strength or compulsion within him to acts of kindness to other souls on behalf of the gospel and the Lord Jesus Christ In so doing, he brings fulfillment to himself.
There is a trace of the haughty spirit in a melancholy. The Spiritfilled life, however, injects a meekness or humility that, although foreign to his natural characteristics, brings great balance to his life and makes him less critical of others and easier to get along with.
The sixth strength of the Holy Spirit needed so desperately by the melancholy is faith. This will get him out of his everpresent tendency to limit himself by unbelief and will inspire him to take steps of faith in the use of his natural characteristics. Most melancholy temperaments immobilize themselves by fear (of the future, for example). What they need desperately from God is the realization that he is with them constantly to supply their every need.
One of the tilings I hope you have noticed about these spiritual strengths provided by the Holy Spirit is how very practical they are for everyday living. Every temperament has a besetting sin or an area of weakness that so easily besets him or causes him to stumble. The Holy Spirit fortifies this area of the person’s weakness, and though he doesn’t change the person’s temperament from its basic root, he so strengthens it in the areas of weakness that it seems that person has been transformed by walking under the control of the Spirit.
The Needs of the Phlegmatic Temperament
Phlegmatics are nice people by nature. I have often said in public that phlegmatics act more like Christians before they become Christians than most of the rest of us do afterwards. They are quiet, gentle, gracious people. And yet, phlegmatics are as needy as any of the other temperaments.
Their natural tendency to be gentle should not be confused with the gentleness or kindness of the Holy Spirit of God. Phlegmatics are gentle in the treatment of other people regardless of their spiritual motivation. When filled with the Holy Spirit, however, that gentility characterizes itself in a motivated servant spirit that makes them a great asset to any family, church, or organization.
Like all other temperaments, the primary need of the phlegmatic is love and compassion for other people. The most underdeveloped part of a phlegmatic’s nature is motivation. The love of the Holy Spirit motivates him to utilize his gracious gentle spirit in the service of Christ.
Endurance is one of the great needs of the phlegmatic. He finds it only in the power of the Holy Spirit Not only are phlegmatics good procrastinators, but they are also respectable quitters. The Holy Spirit will prompt them to keep on. Every church has more than its share of nice, kind, gentle people who warm the pews, but never get involved in the work of the Lord.
The antidote to that is the fruit of goodness—that is, good acts of service for Jesus Christ Once they have committed themselves to a Sunday school class, a department superintendentship, Monday night church visitation, or some other form of Christian service, they do an excellent job, if they will accept the assignment in the first place.
One of the principal needs of the phlegmatic is faith to overcome his fears and worry. No one can be a more professional worrier than the phlegmatic; but when filled with the Holy Spirit he will have faith to trust God to do the impossible, even for him.
Phlegmatics without the Holy Spirit tend toward an increasing life-style of passivity until they are motivated by the self-control of the Holy Spirit and recognize their self-indulgent attitude. The self-control of the Spirit of God will tend to cure their tendency toward procrastination. Our fulfillment in life comes in direct relationship to our being filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit
One of the things I have tried to communicate in all of my books on temperament is that far more important than what is your personal temperament is the question, “Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?” It is almost impossible to exaggerate how dependent we are on the Holy Spirit We are dependent on him for convicting us of sin before and after our salvation, for giving us understanding of the gospel, causing us to be born again, empowering us to witness, guiding us in our prayer life —in fact, for everything. It is no wonder that evil spirits have tried to counterfeit the work of the Holy Spirit and confuse his work.
There is probably no subject in the Bible upon which there is more confusion than that of being filled with the Holy Spirit There are many fine Christian people who seem to equate the filling of the Holy Spirit with external signs. There are other Christians who because of excesses observed or heard of in this direction have all but eliminated the teaching of the filling of the Holy Spirit from their experience. They do not recognize his importance in their lives.
Satan places two obstacles before men: he tries to keep them from receiving Christ as Savior, and if he fails in this, he then tries to keep men from understanding the importance and work of the Holy Spirit.
One of the false impressions gained from people and not from the Word of God is that there is some special “feeling” when one is filled with the Holy Sprit Before we examine how to be filled with the Holy Spirit, let us examine what the Bible teaches we can expect when we are filled with the Holy Spirit.
FOUR MAJOR RESULTS OF BEING FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
There are four specific results of the Spiritfilled life—all guaranteed by the Bible. Consider them carefully, for they are the true marks of being a Spirit-controlled Christian.
1. The nine temperament strengths of the Spiritfilled life (Gal. 5:22-23). We have already examined these traits in detail and have seen that they provide a strength for every natural weakness. Any individual who is filled with the Holy Spirit is going to manifest the characteristics of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith, and selfcontrol. He does not have to act out a role; he will be this way when the Spirit has control of his nature—regardless of his original temperament.
When the Holy Spirit fills your life, you will still be yourself minus the domination of your weaknesses. When filled with the Spirit, we all are able to be used of God in the areas of our natural talents or strengths as given to us by him.
2. A joyful, thankful heart and a submissive spirit (Eph. 5:18-21). When the Holy Spirit fills the life of a believer, the Bible tells us he will cause that believer to have a singing, thankful heart and a submissive spirit.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
A singing, grateful heart and a submissive spirit, independent of circumstances, are so unnatural that they can only be ours through the filling of the Holy Spirit The Spirit of God is able to change the gloomy or griping heart into a songfilled thankful heart He is also able to solve man’s natural rebellion problem by increasing his faith to the point that he really believes the best way to live is in submission to the will of God, God’s Word, and God’s Spirit.
The same three results of the Spiritfilled life are also the results of the Word-filled life, as found in Colossians 3:16-18: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
It is no accident that we find the results of the Spiritfilled life and those of the Word-filled life to be one and the same. The Lord Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is “the Sprit of Truth.” He also said of the Word of God, “Thy word is Truth.” It is easily understood why the Word-filled life causes the same results as the Spiritfilled life, for the Holy Spirit is the author of the Word of God. The Christian who is Spiritfilled will be Word-filled, and the Word-filled Christian who obeys the Spirit will be Spiritfilled.
3. Power for our witness about Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8). The Lord Jesus told his disciples that “It is expedient [necessary] for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter [Holy Spirit] will not come unto you” (John 16:7). That explains why the last thing Jesus did before he ascended into heaven was to tell his disciples, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me… “(Acts 1:8).
Even though the disciples had spent three years with Jesus, had heard his messages several times, and were the best trained witnesses he had, he still instructed them “not [to] depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4). All of their training obviously was incapable of producing fruit without the power of the Holy Spirit And when the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, they witnessed in his power and three thousand persons were saved.
Power to witness in the Holy Spirit is not always discernible, but must be accepted by faith. When we have met the conditions for the filling of the Holy Spirit, we should be careful to believe we have witnessed in the power of the Spirit whether or not we see the results. It is possible to witness in the power of the Holy Spirit and still not see an individual come to a saving knowledge of Christ For in the sovereign plan of God he has chosen never to violate the right of man’s free choice. We cannot always equate success in witnessing with the power to witness!
4. The Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus Christ (John 16:13-14).
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
A fundamental principle should always be kept in mind regarding the work of the Holy Spirit he does not glorify himself, but the Lord Jesus Christ.
The late F. B. Meyer told the story of a missionary who came to him at a Bible conference after he had spoken on the subject on how to be filled with the Holy Spirit She confessed that she was never consciously filled with the Holy Spirit and was going to go up to the prayer chapel and spend the day in soulsearching to see if she could receive his filling.
Late that evening she came back just as Meyer was leaving the auditorium. He asked, “How was it sister?”
“I’m not quite sure,” she responded, explaining her day’s activities of reading the Word, praying, confessing her sins, and asking for the filling of the Holy Spirit She then stated, “I do not feel particularly filled with the Holy Sprit, but never have I been so conscious of the presence of the Lord Jesus in my life.” To which Meyer replied, “Sister, that is the Holy Spirit He glorifies Jesus.”
Let us summarize what we can expect when filled with the Holy Spirit Very simply, the nine temperament characteristics of the Spirit; a singing, thankful heart that gives us a submissive attitude; and the power to witness. These characteristics will glorify the Lord Jesus Christ What about certain feelings or ecstatic experiences? The Bible does not tell us to expect these things when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, and we should not expect what the Bible does not promise.
The Infilling of the Holy Spirit
The filling of the Holy Spirit is not optional equipment in the Christian life, but a command of God! Ephesians 5:18 tells us, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” Since God commands us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, it must be possible for us to be filled with his Spirit I would like to give five simple steps for being filled with the Holy Spirit.
1. Self-examination (Acts20:28; 1 Cor. 11:28).
The Christian interested in the filling of the Holy Spirit must regularly “take heed” to “examine himself,” not to see if he measures up to the standards of other people or the traditions and requirements of his church, but to the previously mentioned results of being filled with the Holy Spirit If he does not find he is glorifying Jesus, if he does not have power to witness, or if he lacks a joyful, submissive spirit or the nine temperament traits of the Holy Spirit, then his self-examination will reveal those areas in which he is deficient and will uncover the sin that causes them.
2. Confession of all known sin (1 John 1:9).
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
After examining ourselves in the light of the Word of God, we should confess all sin brought to mind by the Holy Spirit, including those characteristics of the Spiritfilled life that we lack. Until we acknowledge as sin our lack of compassion, our lack of self-control, our lack of humility, our anger instead of gentleness, our bitterness instead of kindness, and our unbelief instead of faith, we will never have the filling of the Holy Spirit However, the moment we recognize these deficiencies as sin and confess them to God, he will “cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Until we have done this, we cannot have the filling of the Holy Spirit, for he fills only clean vessels (2 Tim. 2:21).
3. Submit yourself completely to God (Rom. 6:11-13).
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Do not make the mistake of being afraid to give yourself to God! Romans 8:32 tells us, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” If God loved us so much as to give his Son to die for us, certainly he is interested in nothing but our good; therefore, we can trust him with our lives. You will never find a miserable Christian in the center of the will of God.
Ephesians 5:18 says, “Be not drunk with wine… but be filled with the Spirit” When a man is drunk, he is dominated by alcohol. So with the filling of the Holy Spirit, man’s actions must be dominated by and dictated by the Holy Spirit For consecrated Christians this is often the most difficult thing to do, for we can always find some worthy purpose for our lives, not realizing that we are often filled with ourselves rather than with the Holy Spirit as we seek to serve the Lord.
When you give your life to God, do not attach any strings or conditions to it He is such a God of love that you can safely give yourself without reservation, knowing that his plan and use of your life is far better than yours. And remember, the attitude of yieldedness is absolutely necessary for the filling of God’s Spirit Your will is the will of the flesh, and the Bible says that “the flesh profiteth nothing.”
Someone has suggested that being yielded to the Spirit is being available to the Spirit Peter and John in Acts 3 make a good example of that They were on their way to the temple to pray when they saw the lame man begging alms. Because they were sensitive to the Holy Spirit, they healed him “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” The man began leaping about and praising God until a crowd gathered. Peter, still sensitive to the Holy Spirit, began preaching; “many of them which heard the Word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand” (Acts 4:4).
Many times I fear we are so engrossed in some good Christian activity that we are not available when the Spirit leads. When a Christian yields himself unto God “as those that are alive from the dead,” he takes time to do what the Spirit directs him to do.
4. Ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13).
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
When a Christian has examined himself, confessed all known sin, and yielded himself without reservation to God, he is then ready to do the one thing he must do to receive the Spirit— very simply, to ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Lord Jesus compares this to our treatment of our earthly children. Certainly a good father would not make his children beg for something he commanded them to have. How much less does God make us beg to be filled with the Holy Spirit But don’t forget Step 5.
5. Believe you are filled with the Holy Spirit!
And thank him for his filling.
And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. (Rom. 14:23)
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thess. 5:18)
For many Christians the battle is won or lost right here. After examining themselves, confessing all known sin, yielding themselves to God, and asking for his filling, they are faced with a decision: to believe they are filled, or to go away in unbelief, in which case they have sinned, for “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
The same Christian who tells the new convert to “take God at his Word concerning salvation” finds it difficult to heed his own advice concerning the filling of the Holy Spirit If you have fulfilled the first four steps, then by faith thank God for his filling. Don’t wait for feelings or for physical signs; fasten your faith to the Word of God, which is independent of feeling. Believing we are filled with the Spirit is merely taking God at his Word, and that is the only absolute this world has (Matt 24:35).
A COMMON QUESTION
The most common question I am asked after my lectures on the Spiritfilled life for overcoming temperament weaknesses is, “How often should I ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit?” My answer is: every time you think you are not! Some Bible teachers think the Spirit’s filling is automatic whenever we ask forgiveness for our sins (1 John 1:7-9). Personally I am not convinced. I like to make sure by asking. In fact, I ask for his filling when I awaken in the morning and many times through the day. The Greek in Ephesians 5:18 literally means, “Keep on being filled with the Spirit”
Occasionally someone protests, “But that is all too simple; being filled with the Spirit must be much more complex!” Why? As an eight-year old boy I asked the Lord Jesus to come into my heart He instantly answered my request Why should he not answer when I ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit? A. B. Simpson used to say, “Being filled with the Spirit is as easy as breathing; you can simply breathe out and breathe in.”
One of the reasons some Christians are reluctant to think they are filled with the Spirit is that they don’t see an immediate change in their lives, or the change is of short duration. Two factors have an important bearing on this: temperament and habit, and they work together. The weaknesses of our temperament have created strong habits that involuntarily recur.
For illustration, let us consider a fear-prone melancholy or phlegmatic Christian. These people have a deeply ingrained habit of doubt, negativism, worry, and anxiety. I can predict the thinking pattern of such a person after he follows the five steps of being filled with the Spirit Before long his negative thinking habit will stir doubts: “Am I filled with the Spirit? I don’t feel any different I’m still afraid.” This mental attitude is sin, and the Spirit’s filling and control ends.
What such people need to realize is that our feelings are the result of thought patterns. We need to learn that feelings are reliable only when they are based on truth and righteousness. God’s people need to fill their minds with the Word of God so their feelings will correspond to God’s.
The feelings of the perennial doubter who is filled with the Spirit will gradually change, but it will take time. If he looks to the Lord for mercy and forgiveness each time he feels doubtful or unbelieving, he will gradually be assured by the Lord. But if he continues to think negatively or doubtfully and justifies it by saying, “I’ve always been this way,” he will remain that way. Or he may get worse, because he is quenching the Holy Spirit by indulging in this sin and etching the habit deeper on his mind.
Mr. Sanguine and Mr. Choleric have a similar problem with their pet sin of anger. It isn’t long after they are filled with the Holy Spirit that their ingrained anger feelings rise up to grieve the Holy Spirit. Unless they immediately confess this sin, they will no longer be filled with the Spirit and the old feelings will control them. Each time they think self-righteously of how they have been offended or insulted or cheated, they cultivate feelings of hostility. These easily-triggered feelings are the result of years of hostile thoughts that can be overcome only as the Spirit of God is given access to and control of the conscious and subconscious mind. He replaces these hostile thoughts with love, kindness, and gentleness, but it will take time for a permanent change to be accomplished.
How to Walk in the Spirit
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the
Spirit” (Gal. 5:25, NIV).
Walking in the Spirit and being filled by the Holy Spirit are not one and the same thing, though they are very closely related. Having followed the five simple rules for the filling of the Holy Spirit, it is then essential to learn how to walk daily in the Spirit.
Being filled with the Spirit is just the beginning of Christian victory. We must “walk in the Spirit” to be effective (Gal. 5:16). It is one thing to start out in the Spiritfilled life and quite another to walk day by day in the control of the Spirit The following procedure for walking in the Spirit can be a practical tool for victorious daily living.
1. Make the filling of the Holy Spirit a daily priority. You cannot walk in the Spirit unless you sincerely want to and unless you have his filling. As we have already seen, old habit patterns sneak back to haunt us. If we enjoy them more than the peace of God, we will indulge the sins of the flesh. Let’s be honest—lust, worry, self-pity, and anger are fun, temporarily. Only when we want the filling of the Holy Spirit more than anything else in the world are we willing to give up lesser emotional satisfactions of lust, worry, self-pity, and anger.
2. Develop a keen sensitivity to sin. Sin short-circuits the power of the Holy Spirit in us.
The moment we are conscious of any sin, we should confess it immediately, so the time between grieving, or quenching, the Spirit and reinstatement is minimal. The main advantage to the study of temperaments is that we can diagnose our most common weakness. Consequently we are on our guard for “the sin that doth so easily beset us.” When it rears its ugly head, confess it, forget it (God does, so you might as well), and press on toward the fulfillment of the will of God for your life. The main secret to victorious living among those I have counseled has been the practice of instant confession.
3. Daily read and study God’s Word. It is my conviction after a good deal of observation that it is impossible for a Christian to “walk in the Spirit” unless he develops the habit of regularly feeding his mind and heart upon the Word of God. One of the reasons Christians do not “feel” as God does about life issues is that they do not know God’s way from his Word. Since our feelings are produced by our thought processes, we will feel as carnal worldlings do if we feed our minds on the “wisdom of the world.” If we feed our minds on the Word of God, we will feel as the Spirit does about life issues. (Remember that it takes some time to reorient our minds from human wisdom to divine wisdom. So regular reading is essential.) Sometimes Christians object that this will make them legalists. Yet they don’t seem to view coming to the table three times a day as legalistic. We do it because we sense a need and enjoy eating. In the same way we can feed spiritually on God’s Word from a sense of need, but it takes time to build our spiritual appetite. Many Christians feel something is very wrong if they miss reading the Word of God, but they didn’t start out that way.
A consistent feeding of one’s mind upon the Word of God produces some interesting results. Consider the following revolutionary benefits.
With these transforming results from filling our minds with God’s Word, it is a tragedy that so many Christians live a second-rate life with feelings of insecurity, uncleanness, discontent, anxiety, and impotence. The character of our feelings depends on the character of our thoughts, and the sincere Christian should ask himself, “What is shaping and filling my thoughts?”
A careful comparison of the Spiritfilled life (Eph. 5:18-21) with the Word-filled life (Col. 3:15-17) is revealing.
Both passages promise a song in your heart, a thanksgiving attitude, and a submissive spirit A mind that is filled with and yielded to the Word of God will produce the same effects on the emotions as the mind filled with and yielded to the Holy Spirit We may legitimately conclude from this that the filling of the Spirit and walking in the Spirit depend upon our being filled with the Word of God!
Reading the Bible at night is especially helpful.
The mind digests the events and thoughts of the day, particularly the last things we think about before going to sleep. For that reason it is very profitable to read God’s Word just before retiring—that way you can go to sleep thinking about the things just read. It is amazing how this helps us awaken with a positive outlook for the day. Get into the habit of reading the Word just before sleeping, and your subconscious mind will mold your feelings in God’s patterns.
Another valuable habit is meditation. The mind is always working, and our will determines whether our mind works for or against us. To work for good, the mind must meditate on the truths and insights of God’s Word. There is one catch: you must memorize in order to meditate profitably, because you can’t meditate on what you don’t know intimately. Whether it is a phrase, concept, or whole verse of Scripture, you must memorize it in order to meditate on it.
A simple method I use to inspire meditation is to write down special verses that bless my soul, then put the sheet of paper in my Bible or notebook. I learn at least one of these verses every week. It is hard work, but I don’t know any mentally lazy Christians who walk in the Spirit.
4. Guard against grieving the Holy Spirit. The next step for walking in the Spirit is an extension of step two—developing a sensitivity to sin. Ephesians 4:30-32 makes it clear that all forms of hostility, including anger, bitterness, and enmity, grieve the Holy Spirit All anger-prone believers should memorize those three verses and develop a particular sensitivity to hostility. In addition to making instant confession, they should resolve to be loving, kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving toward others. This grace is markedly unnatural for a sanguine or a choleric, but the Holy Spirit will develop in the believer a new capacity for thoughtfulness and love.
The importance of our will becomes apparent at this point of walking in the Spirit When we feel the bludgeon of injustice or someone’s wrath, we can hate the offender or forgive and pray for him. Our overall feelings as well as our walk in the Spirit depend upon our decision. Don’t be surprised if you fail repeatedly at first But be sure to confess the sin as soon as you are aware of grieving the Spirit, and let him reestablish your walk. As you choose to forgive and to let the Holy Spirit react through you with patience and love, you will find your temperament weakness changing into a strength.
5 . Avoid quenching the Spirit through fear and wony.
According to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19, we quench the Holy Spirit when we doubt and resist his dealings in our lives. When a Christian says, “I don’t understand why God let this awful thing happen to me,” he has already quenched the Spirit through fear. The Christian who is trusting God could face the same circumstances and say, “I thank God he is in control of my life! I don’t understand his dealings with me right now, but I trust his promise that he will never leave me and he will supply my every need.”
We have seen that melancholy and phlegmatic people have a predisposition toward fear, just as the more extrovertive temperaments have a predisposition toward anger. Some people possess both introvertive and extrovertive temperaments, and consequently may have deep problems with both fear and anger. God’s grace is sufficient to cure both problems through his Holy Spirit But if you have these tendencies, you need to watch carefully your reaction to seemingly unfavorable events. If you groan or complain inwardly, you have already quenched the Holy Spirit This can be remedied immediately if you are willing to call your doubtinduced complaining exactly what it is—sin—and ask God to transform this habit pattern and fill you with his Spirit.
God is not nearly so interested in changing circumstances as he is in changing people. It is no victory to live without worry when there is nothing to worry about, and becoming a Christian did not exempt you from trouble. Job said, “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). Jesus warned us we would face tribulation in this world, and the Bible tells us God sends testings to strengthen us. Many Christians flunk the tests by seeking their removal rather than rendering obedience in the Spirit.
It is impossible for a fear-prone Christian to walk in the Spirit any length of time without strong infusions of God’s Word to encourage his faith. The more God’s Word fills his mind, the more his feelings will abound in faith. But worriers usually enjoy wallowing in their misery, especially with God watching the piteous scene. All worriers should memorize Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NIV).
These verses direct prayer to be made “with thanksgiving.” You cannot genuinely pray with thanksgiving and finish with the same burdens you started with. Consider the following two prayers—and the emotions they create—offered by Christian parents with a sick child.
“Dear Lord, we come to you on behalf of our little girl so near death. The doctor tells us there is no hope for her. Please, dear Lord, heal her. You know how much she means to us. If this sickness is caused by sin in our lives, forgive and cleanse us that she may live. After all the other tragedies in our lives, we do not think we can bear another. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
“Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you that we are your children and can look to you at this time of need. You know the report of the doctors, and you have promised that all things work together for good to folks like us. We don’t understand our dear child’s sickness, but we know you love us and are more than able to heal her. We commit her little body to you, Father, asking for her healing according to your perfect will. We dedicated her to you before she was born, and we thank you that you are able to supply all her needs right now, as well as ours. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
It is obvious which set of parents will feel the “peace of God” and which couple will wring their hands in anguish during this time of deep need. The difference comes in learning the attitude of thanksgiving from the Word of God. Lest you think the above prayer is hypothetical or idealistic, let me share a personal experience. The blonde, blue-eyed curie named Lori that God sent to us is the apple of my heart Several years ago I stood at her bedside in Children’s Hospital and prayed that prayer. Frankly, I don’t know how people without Jesus Christ go through such trials. My wife and I can testify that in spite of Lori’s raging fever and delirium, and no known hope, God imparted peace to our troubled hearts. However, not until we prayed with thanksgiving beside her oxygen tent did we receive that peace.
If you tend to worry or grumble, you will find that you are not a very thankful person. You may be a fine person in many other respects, but unless you learn to be thankful you can never walk far in the Spirit, nor will you be consistently happy.
The secret to a thankful attitude is in coming to know God intimately as he reveals himself in his Word. This will require consistent Bible reading, studying, and meditation. When your faith is established through the Word, it is easier to give thanks, but it is still an act of the will. If you have not accepted his full leading for your life, you will complain because you doubt things will turn out all right And doubt quenches the Spirit and sidetracks your real progress.
One last practical suggestion for walking in the Spirit is in order. Although mental attitude is important at all times, prayer is of paramount importance twice during each day: when we go to bed and when we arise. It is very important to pray “with thanksgiving,” as well as to read the Scriptures, at night Though it may be hard, the other strategic time to give thanks is the first thing in the morning. The psalmist helps us: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24).
After beginning your day with thanksgiving, yield yourself anew to God according to Romans 6:11 -13. Tell him you are available to share your faith with the needy one he sends to you. Yield your lips to the Holy Spirit and let him open the conversation. Walk in the Spirit, and you will bear fruit for God. As soon as you sense you have grieved or quenched the Spirit, confess your sin and again ask for his filling. If you follow these steps, your spirit will improve regardless of your temperament And when you improve your spirit, you permit God to make the most out of your life.
This brings us to the end of today’s title, “Perfect Relationship : 24 Tools for Building BRIDGES to Harmony and Taking Down WALLS of Conflict in our Relationships – Understanding Your Temperament and that of others Episode 3 part 2 – Strengthening our Weaknesses.”
I hope you are blessed by this post
We continue with Episode 4 part 2 in the cause of the week. Until then have a wonderful week in His presence!
Ambassador Monday O. Ogbe
God’s Eagle Ministries – Where we are seeding the nations with God’s word and God is transforming lives through His timeless TRUTH – We are ONE in Christ Jesus, let’s stay ONE!