In His conversation with a Jewish leader, Jesus clarified the purpose of life on this earth: “Love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these” (Mark 12:29-31 NIV).
The Greatest Commandment
In this simple but clear statement, Jesus brought into focus the mission He has created us to fulfill through the lives He’s given us. I believe the real question we’re asking is this: “How do I personally carry out my responsibility to love God with all of my being, and to learn to authentically love others with this same love?”
As three specific elements in our lives converge, they reveal a picture of how God intends for each of us to uniquely live out His purpose on this earth (convergence). For many years I have been teaching clients, groups, classes, and readers what I have entitled the Convergence Principle. The personal testimonials and positive responses this principle has received have legitimized its effectiveness. It provides a framework for men and women of all walks of life to build their life-purpose upon.
Not only has my own life-purpose been an unfolding of the paradox principles I’ve woven throughout this book, it also began to come into focus as I personally implemented this simple yet profound concept of convergence in my own life.
- My life experiences and passions.
- My inborn, God-given temperament.
- My God-given spiritual gifts.
Inborn, God-Given Temperament
Our unique temperament combination defines “how” we might most effectively utilize our life experiences and passions to bring hope, healing, and wholeness into the lives of others. In order to fully know our identity, we must know how we were created in God’s image from the beginning. This inborn, God-given nature within each of us is called our “temperament.”
In Chapter 8, I went into great detail about this topic. The most detailed temperament identification in the industry is provided through the Arno Profile System (APS) temperament profile. It accurately (with 95% reliability) identifies three separate human interactions:
- Inclusion. Our mind, and how it interacts in our surface relationships and environments.
- Control. Our will, and how it leads us to make decisions, perform tasks, seek competence, and respond to the will of others.
- Affection. Our emotions, and how they interact in deep relationships or situations that require feeling.
Historically, there have been four temperament types taught by other personality and temperament instruments:
In the late 1970s, Drs. Richard and Phyllis Arno established the National Christian Counselors Association, and began seven years of research, with thousands of individuals in the Christian counseling setting. Their purpose was to develop a counseling model based on scripture. While researching the temperament models available, they identified a fifth temperament type: Supine. The Supine identification describes a person who, by their very nature, is a servant and feels that they have little or no value. They have a gentle spirit and can become very social or relational when they know they have been accepted.
The APS does not measure a person’s behavior (like a personality test does), which can change throughout the person’s life. Rather, it identifies a person’s inborn temperament, individually placed in each of us by our Creator. Psalm 139 speaks of it as our “inmost being”.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body, and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it” (Psalm 139:13-14 NLT).
Who God created us to be (temperament) and who we’ve become through life experiences and learned behavior (personality), can be vastly different. From that comes great inter-/intra-personal conflict. We need to find out who God has created us to be “in our inmost being”, and who we are in Christ, the new nature. By realizing who we are in Christ, we can learn to operate out of our God-given temperament strengths, and thereby overcome many of our temperament weaknesses. This is when God is most able to use our lives as a conduit to share His love and grace with others.