Summary: Using Rick Warren’s SHAPE acronym to discover how God has created each of us with unique personalities to be used together in serving in the church.
If you haven’t been with us in the last couple weeks let me get you up to date. We are in a series called “Created to be God’s Masterpiece.” This comes from Ephesians 2:10 of the NLT, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
This means each one of us is God’s Masterpiece, his work of art. He has created you and I in a special way. Our Scripture passage this morning reinforced this message, even in the womb God was molding us and shaping us in a special unique way. When we become Christians, God has done another work in recreating us, or as the Scripture share “creating us anew in Christ Jesus.” Through faith in Christ, God does a work in our hearts and lives shaping us to be more like Jesus Christ. From the time we were conceived until we put our faith in Christ and even to this day God has been molding you, shaping you to do good things he has planned from long ago.
With each week we have been exploring the unique S.H.A.P.E. in which God has created you. The “S” stands for Spiritual gifts. God has given each Christian believer special abilities called spiritual gifts. They are special abilities given by the Holy Spirit used to serve God. There is a list of some of the gifts in 1 Corinthian 12 and Romans 12. The “H” stands for Heart or passion. God has ignited a flame within each of us, something we feel strongly about, it usually includes a desire to help someone or some cause within our church, community, or the world. One caution we noted is to make sure our passion comes from God and not our own selfish desire. When we serve in the area where we are passionate, we are more effective in ministry and it becomes enjoyable. The “A” for Abilities or natural skills. God has equipped each of us with natural abilities from birth. There are some things we are better at than others. Some are better at music, others at math and science, others at construction, cooking. However we must continue to grow and learn if we are maximize our natural abilities. The raw potential is there but we must grow and learn to put it to use. The “P” stands for Personality, which we will learn about today. The “E” stands for Experiences.
I have to warn you that this sermon won’t be like my usual because the Bible does not directly teach on personality, although as we will see, people in the Bible had different personalities which God used to serve in different ways. You may ask, why I am teaching on personality then. Because it is a part of who God created us to be and I have found it very helpful in determining how we will serve God. Our spiritual gifts, abilities and passion show where we should serve but our personality tells us how we will serve. Two people could have the same ministry, but serve in very different ways because they have different personalities. I also find the knowledge of personalities helpful in showing us why God some people operate differently than us. So I am asking for a little grace in this message because it is different than my typical sermon. But by the end of the message I hope you will realize how God has blessed you with your personality to serve him, and to appreciate how God has blessed others with different personalities to think and act in ways you cannot so we can complement each other.
Before we get into talking about personality I want you to do me a favor. Get out your sermon outline from your bulletin and write your name on the first blank. [Pause]. Below that write your name again only this time with your other hand. [Pause] It’s a little more challenging isn’t it? It doesn’t feel natural writing with your opposite hand, although you are able to do it. Just as some are more natural writing with your right hand while others with your left hand, we know that God has given all of us different personalities. Your personality or temperament is your inborn traits which controls the way you react to circumstances and act the way you do. It doesn’t mean you can’t act differently it is just more natural. Personalities aren’t right or wrong just different for different individuals.
To give you an example of different personalities let me ask you a question. Does it matter which way the toilet paper comes off the roll? Those of you who say yes it does matter, raise your hand (I’m with you, you’ll notice I have my hand up). Those of you who don’t really care which way it goes, raise your hand. Your response to that question demonstrates we have different personalities. There is a reason why some of us care which way the toilet paper is rolled while others do not. It is because of the personality God has given you.