What Role Does Your Temperament Play In Determining Your View of God and the Christian Life?
The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
What role do you think your temperament plays in determining your view of God and the kind of Christianity you live out?
Well, I'm sure it has a role. And I suspect that that's both dangerous and good.
And I suspect also that's why God ordains that there be a Body of Christ with members who are members of one another, because the way you're wired will cause you to gravitate towards certain aspects of God's being. And the way another person is wired will cause them, probably, to gravitate. And we probably need to see God through each others' eyes in order to know God as fully as a human can know God.
So I think I would want to confess right off the bad that it's influential, that who I am by genetics and by upbringing affects significantly how I see God and how I feel about God, and then how I draw inferences from God to living the Christian life.
So, having said that and owning up to how things are shaped by who we are, I want to say that my aim is to be as biblical as I can. In other words, to constantly be reading the whole scope of Scripture to see God for who he really is. And then listen to others to say, "Well, what about this and what about this? Are you going soft on this, or are you beating that drum too much?"
So my effort to save myself from myself in distorting God would be to just immerse myself in the Bible completely.
For example, whether it's by wiring or by immersion, when I'm reading these days through Jeremiah and Ezekiel, there are dimensions of God's authority and God's justice and God's fury in those books that I see and I want to own and not let anybody sweep under the rug.
Is that me? Piper really likes a big, strong, just, powerful God, and so he sees those things and he emphasizes those.
But when I read in 1 Thessalonians that Paul was with them as a nurse, like a nursing mother caring for them, and his affections were huge for them, or when Paul in Philippians 1 bases his whole leading first argument on, "It is right for me to feel this way about you because I hold you in my heart. God is my witness what affections I have for you. They are the affections of Jesus"—when I read those I say, "Yes! Make me a sweet, kind, tender, loving shepherd that can help a dying member die well and can have the little children come screaming to me after the first service at the North campus and glom on to my legs and say, "I love you little kids so much!"
So I want to watch God be all that he is in his massiveness and his tenderness, and let my innate bent be shaped by that.
So that's kind of a "yes and no" answer.