An enthusiast, walking in the footsteps of David, loves excitement and celebration; you probably buy far more worship CDs than books. Enthusiasts tend to be more relational, and therefore favor group worship. You feed off the excitement of other believers praising God.
As an enthusiast, you also revel in God's mystery and supernatural power. You like to take spiritual risks, and wake up hoping God will do something new and fresh. You don't want to just know scriptural concepts; you want to experience and be moved by them. Your exuberance tends to lead you to explore the livelier elements of worship, such as dancing, music, drawing, singing and other creative forms.
You're an intellectual if your heart is awakened when you understand new concepts about God. Your mind is probably very active, with the result that new intellectual understanding literally births affection; it creates increased respect for your Creator, which leads to worship.
Intellectuals are usually the ones stressing Bible study as the mainstay of their devotion. But some of you, like the biblical Solomon, may also have curious minds in areas beyond the Bible — biology, astronomy, even physics. The more you understand about truth and God's universe, the more in awe of God — and therefore in love with Him — you become.
Just as the naturalist can't wait to get out of doors, the sensate is eager to visit the cathedral, and the ascetic scurries off into his inner world, so the intellectual seeks God in the pages of a book, the shelves of a library, or the vast ruminations of your mind.
Contemplatives are marked by an emotional attachment and even abandonment to God. Like Mary who sat at Jesus' feet, you see yourself first and foremost as God's lover, and you want to spend your time in God's presence, adoring Him, listening to Him, and just enjoying Him.
You resemble ascetics in that your passion for God often leads you into solitude, where you can sit still and enjoy being in God's presence. Your watchwords are desire and relationship, as affirmed by Jesus in John 15:15: "I no longer call you servants … Instead, I have called you friends."
As a contemplative, you enjoy doing the things that couples like to do: Demonstrating your love for God through secret acts of devotion, giving gifts to God like a poem, or offering an anonymous act of charity. You often favor the discipline of journal writing, where you can intensely explore your heart's devotion.
Most of Us Are Blends
Intellectuals want to understand new things about God; activists want to fight God's battles; enthusiasts want to experience God; naturalists want to meet God in nature; sensates want to see and touch things that remind them of God; traditionalists want to faithfully remember God; ascetics want to be alone with God; caregivers want to be God's hands and feet; contemplatives want to adore God and to know Him better.
The important thing is to understand how you best connect with God so that you can more deliberately and consciously cultivate an increasing affection for your Creator.
Do you see yourself in any of the above categories? Please don't feel that you have to choose just one; most of us are blends, and many of us will move in and out of certain temperaments as we age. The important thing is not to find the right "label," but to understand how you best connect with God so that you can more deliberately and consciously cultivate an increasing affection for your Creator.
One caveat is in order, however. Every Christian, regardless of their temperament, needs to spend appropriate time being shaped by God's Word. Some of you might join group Bible studies, others of you may sit alone with your word dictionaries, concordances, and lexicons, and others of you might regularly listen to the Bible on tape — but interacting with the Word on a daily basis should be a given. The same goes for prayer and times of worshipful adoration. How and where you pray may differ; but every Christian is called to spend time with God.
Which spiritual pathway or pathways do you usually take?
The good news is that God crafted you with a specific design. You will certainly bear similarities to certain other believers, but you must celebrate the creative quality of God when you give yourself permission to seek His face in a way that honors His creative genius — beginning with your own spiritual makeup.
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