The Value of Personality

Lorna FaulknerPosted on Monday, June 24, 2013 by Lorna Faulkner

We can be every kind of awesome under the sun in terms of our gifting, but without the love of God in us and coming through us, we are ineffective – as pointless and tuneless as a noisy gong!

This list of the traits of the love of God in 1 Corinthians 13 is not a set list of personality traits we are required to display and nothing else. Far from it, it is a list of all the things He wants to work into us alongside our individual personalities.

“Lorna is patient, and kind, and loud, and laughs out loud at the wrong moment, and keeps no record of wrongs and is not rude, and gets excited about small things and is not self-seeking and…speaks up when she sees someone treated badly…and…you get the picture…”

I believe our individuality is as key to God’s kingdom plan as is His desire for us to be a community.

With worship songs – there’s an ‘I’ and ‘We’ debate that runs in some churches I know. I have the answer – He wants both!

Psalm 139 says,

“Before I formed you, I knew you…”

“There is nowhere you can go where I can’t find you…”

And…

“You are an awesome design. Be amazed…”

This Psalm is stunning. It says that before He made us, He knew us. That means he made us on purpose! He meant it. If He didn’t like what He saw before He made us, He would have made us differently.

The Bible says we are fearfully and wonderfully designed and it is the TRUTH. If it didn’t matter that we were unique, we would all look the same.

The uniqueness of our physicality is a measure of the uniqueness of our personality.

As diverse as the physical world is, so is the world of personality. We are all so very different and when God made the diversity of the world – all those different coloured flowers, trees with leaves of all shapes, the awesome insect world, the wonder of the world of birds, you name it. Everything was different. Certain things have shared traits but it’s all different. I really believe he never meant for everything to be the same.

My husband, Rich, likes to play ‘Guess the Guitar’. He is really good at it.

One Friday night, we were watching a music channel and enjoying some old 80s favourites. There was a guy playing a guitar solo – it was a Gretsch – and Rich says “There’s no way that solo is being played on that guitar…”.

He was fairly sure it was being played on a ‘Strat’. I didn’t know the difference and just thought it sounded great – it could have been any old guitar to me but Rich is a bit of an expert and could tell!

Jesus is a bit of an expert – He can tell the difference. He knows the tone and all the minute details of our personality and He loves to hear us played, we are not just any old guitar to him. Sometimes we think we all have to sound like a ‘Strat’, so we try to copy it. We think, ‘Ah, that person has got it going on, that must be the way to be’.

But that’s not God’s way. Our children copy us when they’re little but we don’t want them to turn into ‘Mini-Me’s!’. We want them to embrace the essence of who God has made them and blossom into the one He dreamt of when He thought of them.

We hope their behaviour changes(!), but not their personality. Jesus doesn’t want ‘cloned Christians’. He wants the fullness and diversity of all of creation reflected in his people.

And so, we come to the heart of the matter. What you can offer to a church, a family, a job, a neighbour, and most of all, to Jesus cannot be offered by anyone else in the same way that you will do it. Someone else could do it in their way, but it will never be completely as you will do it unless you do it, because they are unique and so are you!

I have lived a lot of my life feeling like just any old guitar. I know the lies that come with that. It’s just the assignment of the enemy against me and so many of us. “You are not important!”, he says, “You don’t matter! What you do doesn’t matter”!

Unfortunately we have joined in with this thinking and have tried to die. We call it dying-to-self, but we get it a little mixed up. Jesus meant dying to selfishness, self-righteousness, self-reliance, self-focus and self-centredness.

We act like it means dying to our individual personality, as though who we are is offensive to Him. This is rubbish! He made us and we are killing His beautiful design for the church with this thinking. Thinking our very personalities are somehow the enemy of God in us. It’s high time we began to truly know that we are FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY designed. There is nothing in us He wants to kill. We are His idea. He delights in us. He will train us and refine us but at the heart, we remain who He saw before he formed us.

Now, I know that we are flawed. Me, more than many of you! Personality is a gift from God. His creativity at work among humans, but just as our spiritual gifts are tuneless without love, so our personalities are given to becoming a bit noisy-gong-like without Him, too! That’s why we need Him to weave His love in between the other bits.

My personality is great but isn’t always helpful. The love of God comes in and helps cover the flaws. It does something to us and to other peoples’ perception of us. It makes us a reflection of His design for us and not just the sum of our parts. God’s love enables us to be honest about ourselves and stop hiding, stop trying to be someone we’re not.

It helps us see and accept where He wants to change us and train us. It helps us see and accept where we are who we are. Ultimately, what is important is God’s love shining through our personalities – God’s personality, wild and enormous, reflected in each one of us.

You know, gold is still gold even before it’s refined and we need to treasure ourselves, and one another, even while we are still going through the refiner’s fire. The essence of gold remains precious. The process of refining means it comes to its potential and is of more practical use but its value remains the same, gold is still gold!

What God put into you when He thought of you was precious and when you were born, it was precious and, as you have grown, it was precious and, even though it may have been hidden or made grubby, it is precious and, as He uncovers it, it is precious and, as it is refined and worked into the crown He intended it to be, it is precious.

Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself – everyone else is already taken!”

Sage advice. Let’s start taking it!

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