April 30, 2010

Grace vs Truth

I met with my friend yesterday and we had a nice chat. Upon leaving, she mentioned something to me that just stuck -- you know how that is -- something you cannot leave go of and feel obligated to think on. Well, I am sure she didn't mean to do so, after all, it was just in passing conversation; but, it got me to thinking and I have been doing that since she dropped me off at home. In fact, I woke up thinking about it, and here I am now blogging about it.

I blogged yesterday about taking a personality profile test (my friend's idea). She had gotten on the subject of Spiritual Gifts and we chatted about taking those tests before. I have taken them a number of times, various ones (depending on your belief in the gifts as well as how they are classified). She then mentioned the Keirsey Temperament Sorter profile, and suggested I take it online. I couldn't find one that was free, but stumbled on the Jung Typography Test (Myers-Briggs), which is similar and also references the Keirsey's Temperament profiles. It was free, so I took it. Long story short, it said I have a Rational Temperament type. This is from Wikipedia:

"The Rational temperament is one of the four temperaments defined by David Keirsey. Correlating with the NT (intuitive–thinking) Myers-Briggs types, the Rational temperament comprises the following role variants (listed with their corresponding Myers-Briggs types): Architect (INTP), Fieldmarshal (ENTJ), Inventor (ENTP), and Mastermind (INTJ)."

I was then classified as being a Mastermind (INTJ) role variant (or type of Rational). All that to say, I tend to be "abstract in speech and utilitarian in pursing my goals. My greatest strength is strategy." (My personalization of what it says on Wikipedia)

Ok, interesting diversion, and yes I turn out to be a Rational-Mastermind almost to a tee. I found the exact same thing when I took the Visual-Spatial Awareness test -- I scored almost perfectly. I guess I am a case-in-point, LOL! Now, on to the point of this blog. As we were leaving the cafe, my friend and I were further discussing how we are (temperament wise), and she said that she was a grace person and that her friend (another friend) was a truth person. Then she mentioned Randy Alcorn's book, "The Grace and Truth Paradox: Responding with Christlike Balance." I have not read this book, but my friend suggested it to me. We talked briefly about the difference between being a truth person and a grace person, and then left until we meet again next week (boy, do I have some news to share with her! LOL!)

This topic has never left me, as I blogged initially. I mean, I went to bed thinking about it, and woke up dreaming about it. It has just stuck to me like glue.

Whenever that happens it is usually something the Lord wants me to explore, to think about, to understand. I usually go with the flow here, often thinking and then thinking, and then mediating on the Word, and somehow it all comes together for me -- I just get some new wrinkle of truth. This is the "new" truth I discovered, which was quite transformational for me.

Ta-Dum - I am a truth seeking person. I think it goes hand-in-hand with my discovery that my personality/temperament is Rational-Mastermind. As a Rational person, I am driven to discover truth, to understand truth, and to experience truth. Truth is everything to me. I am a "just the facts" girl, and I analyze (used to think I was sick and weird for doing this) everything to the nth degree. I do not make a decision until I have looked everything over closely and come to a conclusion about said thing. It is a long process for me, sometimes taking me months and months to do, but in the end, I am able to fully embrace the "truth" discovered and then move on.

As a truth-seeking person, I favor legalism (right and wrong). I have always said that I am "black and white," very narrow minded and always seeking justice. This is part of my personality too. This need for justice and fairness has caused me a lot of hurt over the course of my life, because as my mother used to say (and Mom's are always right): "Life is not fair."

The nugget of truth that came to me this morning was simply this: truth seekers embody the Law. Truth seekers are legalists who use the law to keep everything under control. They like the rigid and inflexible aspects of the law (break it and die). They like that the Law is fixed, it will not change, and in their mind, the Law has been settled -- no deviation from it.

The truth seeker person is in many ways the exact opposite of the grace seeker person. The grace seeker person sees everything with compassion and flexibility. To this kind of person, grace is given freely because they intuitively understand that the Law, while good, is not always the best and last answer to every question. Sometimes there just has to be some leeway, some give and take.

As I thought about this more, I realized that in many ways truth seeking people want to apply the Law (the moral code of the Bible) to every aspect of their lives. While it is an honorable thing to want to do that, often they do it in such a way as to exclude any measure of grace. In short, we tend to be unforgiving of ourselves and others who fall short of what the Law says. We are like the Pharisees of the Bible. We love the law, even when we know we cannot abide it.

The truth of course lays in the understanding of what the law is and isn't, and then in accepting what Grace has done and is doing now. I had a pretty good foundation in Biblical law, and felt confident that I understand all about Grace. The thing was that I didn't realize just how lawyer like I had become, and how much I relied on the law to monitor and control my own behavior.

I guess the gist of this post is this: as Christians, we are no longer under the tenets of the Law. The Perfect Law of Christ has superseded, supplanted the Law of the Old Testament (the rules and regulations). We are now under Grace, and have liberty to know that the old law, which was external, has now been placed inside of us, and is kept by the Holy Spirit of God. It is no longer up to me to keep the Law. I keep the Law because He lives within me and keeps it for me. I was not able to keep it before, I am not able to keep it now. Only the Grace of God can keep the law, and that comes through Faith in Jesus Christ, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

So, another drum roll...that means that I am no longer a truth seeking person. I no longer seek the truth in the Law, but rather I know the Law, and I know that no one can keep it aside from Grace. Therefore, I am a grace giving person, a person who knows and understands that the Law cannot be kept, and that the only measure of freedom is through Grace. I give Grace to others because God has given Grace to me.

Kind of convoluted, but still great truth to me. I am once again set at liberty, and am living out this perfect freedom that is mine through Christ Jesus, my Lord.

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