Variety for the win (because you’re a real personality)

So for the next few weeks, our church is getting into shape. Preaching, small group studies and daily devotions will be around finding your s.h.a.p.e:

Spiritual gifts. Heart. Abilities. Personality. Experience.

I was privileged to be part of the team of writers for the series and got to create a week’s worth of devotions on the theme of personality: how and where the masterpiece of you fits into the Kingdom.

I’ll be blogging the devotions here (Mondays at 8h00 UTC+2 as usual, and Thursdays at 20h00 UTC+2), as part of the #5minutes4freedom journey. Head over here if you’re keen on more – or all –of the s.h.a.p.e series.

. . .

“O LORD, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures.” Psalm 104:24

There are about 400 000 different beetle species on the planet. That’s a lot of beetles. A lot of reasons to believe that God loves variety. And for sure, diversity is integral to God’s being. Genesis 1:1 – which is, like, the first verse of the Bible – reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Scholars note that “the Hebrew subject noun translated ‘God’ (Elohîm) is plural, yet its action verb, ‘created’ (bara), is singular – our first indication that the Creator-God of the Bible is a plural-yet-one Being. Thus, variety is actually part of God’s plural-yet-one essence.”

When it comes to people, God shows off his creative multiplicity by making us male and female. But he doesn’t stop there. He makes men and women who are inspirers and caregivers, guardians and performers, executives, thinkers, doers and visionaries and probably close on 400 000 other personality types, all operating within a miscellany of nations, cultures, ethnic groups and socio-economic spheres. He makes all these people in his image – in the dazzling multicolours of his nature – because his image mirrored in his handiwork brings him glory.

But all those people? All those personalities? They can make life difficult. Because when sin entered the world and everything broke, we dropped the accents of Eden. Lost our ability to revel in the splendour of a diverse creation. And that makes it super hard to understand – never mind get along with – people who interpret life in radically different ways from us. We don’t much like diversity.

And yet the psalmist tells us, “In wisdom you have made them all.” (Psalm 104:24) Which means, a wise God made all the people you think are funny-peculiar, or too intense, or too docile, or too whatever. And maybe, to display God’s glory, we need to be a plural-yet-one church. Maybe we need to embrace our personal differences instead of taking our differences personally. (Tweet that.) The differences are necessary if we want to be a true reflection of God’s complex magnificence. Because everything he made, he made for his pleasure and glory. That goes for your personality, too, and every other personality in the church.

Your temperament is stamped and sanctioned by the living God who breathed a little of his creativity into your introversion or your extroversion or wherever you find yourself on the spectrum. The ability you have to create – embedded in your personality – comes straight from your Creator. You create dreams and decisions. You make homes and happiness. You make people safe and you make people’s day. No matter your personality, you make a difference. Give the world and the church and your friends and your family the gift of your personality strengths, and pray that God would temper your course when you bend to your weaknesses.

Point to ponder

The Creator of atoms, galaxies, introverts and extroverts displays his glory through rich diversity.

Verse to remember

“… For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9

. . .

Do you see evidence of God’s creativity in the temperament of someone you don’t necessarily get along with?

Oh, and today’s featured image? His name is Adam. He’s a Maasai from Arusha, Tanzania. We met him on the beach in Zanzibar. He’s leading a church there, in the village of Matemwe. Because God loves diversity. (If you’re an email subscriber, check out this post on the blog to get the pic.)

Thanks for reading, and please let me know your thoughts, and how I can help or pray?

It would be awesome to journey with you on Facebook or twitter. You can also sign up to get these posts by email.

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