Personalities fascinate me. We all have one and each comes with its own special strengths and weaknesses. Often, the differences between personalities can be the basis of conflict or of harmony. My personality may annoy someone and other personalities may aggravate me. However, our God never ceases to work with each individual to mold their unique personality to fit His purpose. There seems to be three particular ways in how this conforming and transforming is manifested and three men from the Scripture from whom we can learn these principles.
1. Softens the Edges – Simon Peter
My baby girl reminds me of Peter; constantly trying to shove both her feet in her mouth! In the Gospels, Peter is consistently getting in his own way and opposing himself. Yet God got a hold of his heart and he later became one of the greatest disciples and witnesses for Jesus Christ. Eventually, he was even used by God to pen the books of First and Second Peter, throughout which his compassion and love for the Lord is clearly seen.
Peter is a reminder that no matter how rough my personality may be, or that of someone else around me, God can work and use that personality for His glory. Are we willing to allow him to soften those edges that need it?
2. Strengthens the Spirit – John Mark
John Mark would be the opposite of Peter. This is the guy who, from what we read in Scripture, doesn’t seem to be able to handle the difficult life of service to work with the Apostle Paul. However, through the working of the Holy Spirit and the patience of a man of God, John Mark eventually is built up to the place that Paul says, “…Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” God strengthened His spirit, and emboldened his will.
May we submit to God for the same. Too often I find my boldness for Christ lacking and my spirit is weak. My hope and prayer then is that, as in John Mark, God might mold and strengthen me to be “profitable…for the ministry.”
3. Sustains the Power – Moses
In Deuteronomy 34:7, the Bible records the death of Moses with some unique observations. The Scripture says: “…nor his natural force abated.” His natural power, boldness, and strength of personality did not fade away as he aged. This is in opposition to the natural flow of life. As we age, our natural force weakens and deteriorates. This is evident throughout our world. This did not occur in the life of Moses. He was as powerful of a man in speech and presence at 120 years old as at 40. How was this possible? God sustained Moses’ personality for His purpose.
The lesson is this: Those aspects of ourselves which we have “put off” do not ever again need to be put back on. God can sustain those good fixes. If we will be continually surrendered to Him. As we fulfill God’s purpose, He sustains who we are to accomplish His task.
More and more, I marvel that an almighty God would reach down and continue to work and mold me into His image. Even with all the personality traits that irritate, the prominent faults in temperament, and the battle against the flesh in day to day living, God can and will continue to conform me, and His willing children, to the image of Jesus Christ.
Missionary to Norway