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He’s Still Workin’ On Me

Filed under: — jen d @ 11:45 am

A recent post about personality types on Meanderings got me thinking about this song we used to sing at my old church in Sunday School, Children’s Church, and other kids’ ministries:

He’s still workin’ on me

To make me what I ought to be.

It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars,

the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.

How loving and patient He must be,

’cause He’s still workin’ on me.

In reading through the descriptions of different personality clusters (‘realistic,’ ‘artistic,’ ‘social,’ investigative,’ etc.), I realized that personality is a very fluid thing. Oh, we all have our tendencies and propensities, be they for better or for worse, but we do change. There is, in other words, Hope! All humans, I suppose, grow or degenerate in various arenas of ‘personality’ as life’s circumstances evolve to shape them. And some who are more aware recognize that they have a small power to “change” or adapt to new circumstances or insights. But speaking in strictly human terms, such adaptation, or ‘growth,’ as many would call it, in and of itself offers no hope; for in the end, every human being, whether he’s ‘well-adjusted’ or not, is powerless to affect any spiritual change. He or she can never affect the most important, dramatic change of all, namely that of justification before a Holy God.

But what Hope exists for those who have relinquished control to that God! It is through His Spirit that real change occurs, and most of us can look back over recent years, or even months in our lives and see change in our personality that is nothing short of miraculous. What’s truly breathtaking to me is that, in retrospect, I can see that those changes have been affected not just for my personal benefit, but for the benefit of others. I’m speaking of ministry. For the most part, I would say that I’ve lived an introverted life. I’ve had spurts of extroversion, but throughout childhood and most of my teenage years, I preferred to be alone. Like C.S. Lewis, I viewed most attempts other people made to enter my world (and befriend me) as mere intrusions. What baffles me, is that I still have that propensity. Seeking solitude now and then is not in and of itself wrong; it’s even necessary. Christ was known to seek a mountain, a garden, where He could spend time alone in communion with His Father. But mine is often not a desire for uninterrupted devotion; it is far too often a lust for loneliness. When I’m submerged in my own selfishness and walking in the flesh, this lust just oozes out of me; I can’t be bothered. Leave me alone!

But, miraculously, this lust no longer rules my life. Something happened in my freshman year at the university that turned my heart and mind towards ministry. I switched out of publishing in favor of a counseling major. The move barely made sense to me at the time, and while I didn’t – and still don’t quite – know where it will take me, the dominating thought in my mind, my prayer, was ministry. I was ill-equipped to counsel myself, never mind others. I wanted ministry training. The surprise came in wanting to be involved in ministry at all. Because ministry is relationships: relationships centered around the glory of Christ. Where had this love for and interest in others come from? Goodness knows, not out of the heart of a girl who’d normally go out of her way and even lie to avoid having to interact with other people. No, this love and desire for involvement in the lives of others came from a Greater Love that, despite my ‘personality,’ will not let me go. It comes from a God Who alone not only can affect change, but Who overwhelmingly will. It’s part of His plan, not necessarily ours. We can hide ourselves away in our closets (doing anything but praying), but He will come with tender voice and hands, open the doors, and drag us, if necessary, out into the Light. For our good, and His glory. Because of His mercy, and because His plans cannot fail. Despite our tenacious personalities.

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6)

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