Knowing Who You Are

After a series of meeting regarding some future plans, the last couple of days have been “eye-opening” in a lot of ways.  Mostly in my awareness of my individual wiring and gift-mix, which is usually for the most part, encouraging.  If there was any tension for me during this time, it was when I became more conscious of how my wiring comes with it’s own set of challenges; shortcomings and weaknesses I could only wish accompanied my strengths.

Unfortunately, that’s not a reality for anyone.  We’ve all been created with a select number of things we’re great at and a select number of things where we’ll never be great.  That’s reality and for me, that’s ok!  Well, it’s becoming ok.  The article below by Jeremy Pace helped put things in proper perspective. 

Leadership is less about who you are and more about who God is and what he is doing specifically and uniquely through you.

The relationship between personality and leadership has been an often-studied pair. But for all the effort, we are no closer to understanding leadership through personality than we were 2,000 years ago.

Just browse the “Leadership” section at the bookstore and dozens of books expounding one personality type, trait, or characteristics as the key to successful leadership can be found. Often these books provide real-life success stories of persons of a certain personality who took their organization to the next level, led a world-changing movement, or left a tremendous legacy.

How do you become a faithful leader?

These books, whether about Steve Jobs or Moses, leave the reader believing that they need only develop a personality like the hero to be successful. The tables of contents read like an ingredient list of behaviors and personality traits that, when mixed together, properly produce the next great leader.

The problem is the question “How do I become a successful leader?” Rather, we should be asking, “How do I become a faithful leader?” The discussion then shifts from “What personality and behavior traits do I need?” to “Who am I?

Who are ‘you’?

A quick comb through Scripture reveals that God used a plethora of personality types to bring about his purposes throughout history. Whether looking at Moses, Abraham, David, Esther, Peter, Paul, or Mary—it’s clear that God did not use these men and women because of their great personalities or impeccable character, but rather more often in spite of them.

You are not limited by your personality.

The range of personality types of the men and women God has used throughout history demonstrate a profound paradoxical truth for leadership today:

Leadership is less about who you are and more about who God is and what he is doing specifically and uniquely through you.

Who you are matters—it is just not the central or the limiting factor in leadership. God is the defining, centering, and actuating force in all of your life, including leadership. You are not limited by your personality; rather, every one of your traits, ticks, and tendencies is under God’s sovereignty.

What ‘controls’ you?

Becoming a faithful leader is not determined by personality type, but rather on what controls you. Before awakened to our new identity in Christ we once walked in the “course of this world” (Eph. 2:2), moving along the direction of a world separated from God. There are not multiple “courses” but rather a singular course, like a train track rather than an open road. Walking in such a way is to be under the control of a world that either ignores or explicitly rejects God. In Romans 6:6, Paul refers to the course of this world as being “enslaved to sin.”

Yet as believers, we are no longer slaves to sin but slaves to righteousness: “For the love of Christ controls us” (2 Cor. 5:14), sets our course in line with God’s purpose. The love of Christ is not a feeling we have for Christ, but the reality that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection changes our course away from God to towards God. It makes us new (v. 17) and establishes our way of living (vv. 19–20).

All personality types have been made for a purpose.

Regardless of personality type, your identity in Christ is the controlling power of your life and leadership. Your course has changed.

“But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). Paul’s letter to the Philippians expounds on the “mind of Christ” in 2:1–18, explaining that Christ (as the premier human being) has given us through his life the exact way in which we are to live and lead. Likewise, Christ’s death and resurrection has given us his Spirit through which we now have the power to live and lead like Christ.

Unity without uniformity

Our personality type becomes subject to Christ’s character and model. This means that God has wired you in specific and unique ways, and, in Christ, he has restored your wiring to operate under his perfect rule.

Sin causes personality types to short circuit. The paradox of the gospel is that we have been rewired and yet must continue to “work out our salvation daily with fear in trembling” (Phil. 2:12). The “mind of Christ”—his character actuated in us by his Spirit—must daily become the filter for our personality type.

Personality type does not limit you in being a faithful leader, but it is limited and “controlled” by Christ’s character and model, the same character that you are to have and to grow into each day.

Knowing who you are

Knowing who you are in Christ is the beginning of being able to become the “you” God specifically and uniquely created. The gospel not only saves us and sanctifies us, but it also dignifies us.  There is no personality type that is better or best. All have been made for a purpose, “for good works” (Eph. 2:10), in order that “we should be a people holy and blameless before him” (Eph. 1:4), “built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph. 2:22).

Knowing who you are in Christ allows you to see personality type from the only vantage point that keeps you from using personality as an excuse for poor leadership, an excuse not to lead, or even as a justification for leadership. Only by seeing yourself through who God is and what he is doing can you truly become a faithful leader.

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