Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Love in the Spirit

Of this you have already heard through the word of truth, the Gospel, that has come to you. Just as in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing, so also among you, from the day you heard it and came to know the grace of God in truth, as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow slave, who is a trustworthy minister of Christ on your behalf and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. Colossians 1:5B-8

After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them.  Luke 4:38-39

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant me in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith; that I, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that I may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all, I ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  (Ephesians 3:14-21 modified into Augustinian prayer)

From the seminary to the sanctuary…from the sanctuary to the streets.  Jesus shows us that the Word of God is meant to be brought into the world.  Just as he was physically reborn in the world, we have to be reborn in the spirit of God.

Simon’s mother-in-law was reborn when she was cured of her fever.  Then the people flocked to Jesus for a cure.  Yet after this active ministry, Jesus needed to recharge his battery and retreated to a deserted place. 

That got me wondering…after having been to a few Myers-Briggs Type workshops, what was Jesus’ type?  First, introverts can function in the world but they need some down-time to decompress.  So, although we often see Jesus preaching to the crowds, he gets a lot of time alone in prayer.  I think this indicates that Jesus is an INTROVERT.  Others might make the case that Jesus was an extrovert.  Jesus also had a very small, selective group of friends – not just the twelve disciples but also Mary, Martha, Lazarus and a few others. 

According to one website:
“Jesus based his life on idealism in the world based on his set of morals that were seem as a step ahead of his time. He wanted to teach these morals to others, and he was regarded as compassionate, concerned with the people…He was also a strong judging type, having a strong set of principles he encouraged everyone to follow and seeing justice as important- but doing so in a way that isn’t too cold hearted.”[i]

Jesus also can be described as “highly focused and serious in his goals. He is a visionary type that is seeking to fulfill these goals with little time for other external activities that does not help him spread the word of the God.”

Thus one writer-blogger concludes that Jesus is an INFJ.  Another says that Jesus balances all types.  “As a fully mature person, was both extrovert and introvert, both sensing and intuitive, both thinking and feeling, both judging and perceiving, depending upon the situation.  The more mature and Christ-like we become, the more balanced we become in the use of all four attitudes and all four functions.” [ii]

What do you think? 

What is your MBTI type and how does that drive your spirituality and prayer life? 

According to the book Prayer and Temperament, Benedictine prayer (Lectio Divina) is appropriate across all types.  In my case (INFP), in addition, the authors point out that my personality type also gravitates toward Augustinian prayer.

Named in honor of St. Augustine -- who developed rules of spirituality for the monks and convents in North Africa. The key word in this style is “projection,” or using creative imagination to transpose scripture to today's situation.  They say this is especially used by NF's who are usually creative, optimistic, verbal, persuasive, outspoken, writers and speakers; good listeners, counselors, conflict resolvers and peacemakers. Handling negative criticism is difficult for NFs, but they blossom under affirmation. For us, prayer is a discourse with God, not just an interior castle or a passive receptacle.[iii]  This type also is connected with St. Luke.  The NF type is person-oriented, showing Jesus’ great compassion for sinners, women, and outcasts.

For a little insight into your own personality and type, look for Prayer and Temperament: Different Prayer Forms for Different Personality Types by Chester P. Michael and Marie C. Norrisey in a library near you.

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