We do not always recognize or acknowledge that our heart cries out for fellowship with God. Drs. Arno refer to this desire as “heart hunger,” which often drives us into the things of the world in hopes of satisfying the longing within us. Our hunger for God will drive us, in our ignorance, to attempt to meet our temperament needs in ungodly ways. Until we surrender our heart to Jesus Christ and become a child of God, our spirit will never be satisfied.
In our own striving to be reconciled to God, we are unknowingly attempting to meet the needs of our temperament. If we could meet every one of our temperament needs in ways that would be fully pleasing to God, we would be perfect, complete, and have no need for God. In reality, our inherited nature keeps us from doing this; sometimes we walk in the flesh (that which is contrary to the spirit). We must face the fact that our identity (wholeness) can never be found within ourselves or the world in which we exist, but only in and through Jesus Christ.
Quoting Kyle Idleman, “We’ll not fully place our faith and hope in Jesus until our earthly idols have all failed us.”
Temperament Strengths and Weaknesses
Each element of our God-given, inborn temperament is comprised of strengths and weaknesses. Our inborn temperament strengths, when properly used, bring glory to God, the grace of Jesus to others, and fulfillment within. In order for our strengths to be realized, there needs to be a balance in all three areas of our temperament – Inclusion, Control, and Affection. Our temperament strengths are effectively and beautifully revealed in our lives when the specific needs of our inborn temperament are consistently met in healthy, godly ways.
However, because we experienced life and relationships in ways that were unhealthy, ungodly, or shaming, our mind, will, and emotions became drastically imbalanced, and the fundamental needs of our temperament went unmet. Unmet needs always expose the weaknesses of our temperament.
Certainly, issues such as depression, anxiety, addiction, crime, disobedience, disrespect, adultery, fear, worry, and so on, are obvious expression of temperament weaknesses. That largely goes without saying. But the enemy’s deception often conceals our weaknesses in ways we very possibly might not recognize.
Often, behaviors that we typically might consider relationally and socially “acceptable” are essentially an equal-and-opposite reflection of our temperament weaknesses. Perfectionism, stringency, control, hyper-vigilance, and even serving the needs of others can be subtler expressions of temperament weaknesses, making it difficult to consider they might really be weaknesses. Temperament weakness cannot be assumed based upon outward behavior, but rather, by the inner motivation that provides motivational energy to behavior. Regardless whether outwardly “good” or “bad”, if our attitudes, decisions, and actions derive their motivation from the shame within us, then they are weaknesses.
You Can’t Judge A Fish by Its Ability to Climb A Tree
Let’s consider that simply because we seem to effectively accomplish “good” things in our lives, it’s very possible that these may be very self-focused, inhibiting the possibility for others to see Jesus through us. That’s what makes them weaknesses. I often make the analogy to a young business that rapidly experienced enormous growth which visibly outpaced the organization’s administrative ability to “keep up” – outwardly it appeared successful and thriving; yet its infrastructure was weak, underdeveloped, and insufficient. Even though the results looked impressive, their weak foundation would inevitably falter.
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27 NIV).
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