“I’m a realist while my wife is more spiritual than I am.” An internet client shared this with me recently. He was not embarrassed or defensive; I felt his declaration manifested pride because he had a better handle on real-life issues than his spouse.
It’s a comment I often hear (from husbands more typically than wives) and usually provides accurate insight into the speaker and the marriage. I have found that wives are generally more spiritually mature than their husbands are. Yes, it’s a generalization, but it’s been the case for most couples who have sought me out for marriage help.
What does it mean to be a realist and why is it an issue in our walk with the Lord?
Temperament analysis is essential in our arsenal of tools to help clients through Christian Counseling. We have many articles on the Arno Profile System, the NCCA clinical diagnostic tool we favor, and how it helps us better understand the unique, God-given temperament we bring into the world.
Melancholies and Cholerics tend to be the thinkers, those with strong analytical skills, who have minds that never shut off. They are rational, thought-focused beings who rely on their soulish minds to help them navigate life. They will struggle to keep their emotions in check.
The Supines and Cholerics tend, left to their own devices, to live more out of their emotions. They tend to be more expressive are very good at knowing how they feel about certain life situations. They generally do not overthink or excessively analyze life’s challenges and rarely are bogged down with all-consuming mental torment.
Phlegmatic temperaments can go either way.
Challenging Mind Battles for Realists
The challenge for every born-again believer is to allow transformation to come from the renewal of our soulish mind and the regenerative power of the Holy Spirit within us. Each temperament type faces its own specific challenges that oppose this growth.
Those who pride themselves as realists often elevate their rational mind, and the ability to analyze above the truths in Scripture. Oh, they will not agree with that conclusion, but I believe that when push comes to shove in a stressful life situation, many will choose the logical route over the faith-demanding path. If they do not know, or believe fully, what the Bible says, it becomes easier to fall back and rely on the world’s view. Scientific “facts” will trump biblical truths as promised in Scripture.
Unfortunately, the rational, world-pleasing route can open the door for fear when expectations are not met. The walk of faith looks beyond current life situations and to the hope and promises ahead.
Those with an active mind have both a blessing and a challenge. Those individuals wrestle with what earthly facts and analysis contend compared to what the word of God puts forth.
We have a choice about what to believe. What lens will we look through? Those who see the natural world as dominant will call themselves realists because they determine that realm frequently prevails.
You may hear someone say of another that a person is too heavenly minded to be of earthly good. In my early years as a new Christian, I used to embrace that viewpoint. The phrase is unbiblical and reflects the typical view of a realist who does not fully grasp his new identity in Christ.
What is the remedy? Every believer, regardless of temperament, needs to reassess his or her vantage point. We are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms and have been given power and authority over the demonic realm. We are vessels of the Holy Spirit, the Body of Christ and have the mandate to be conquerors over life situations.
Having an analytical and rational mind is not a curse, but it brings unique challenges. The battlefield is the mind: the perfect, born-again mind of the Spirit man versus the unrenewed soul mind.
Here are five steps to help move forward:
- Recognize the challenge that you are facing and prepare to engage in the mental battle on a case-by-case basis.
- Do you believe what the Word says about that situation? If not, you positioned for trauma.
- In each situation: capture every thought (. Think about what you are thinking about.
- Replace the rational/ungodly thoughts with the word of God. Think about whatever is pure, noble, right, excellent or praiseworthy (Phil 4:8). To maximize success here, make a commitment to memorize Scripture going forward.
- Keep your mind steadfast so that the peace of God can manifest in you. (Isa 26:3,4). When you get off course, caught up in stinking thinking, repent and go back to step 3. Rinse and repeat.
Let’s consider an example – retirement finances. The realist, left unchecked, will fret and stress about working hard enough and squirreling enough money away for the end of life security. One who walks in the Spirit will focus on working hard, earning as much as he can, saving and giving away/tithing as much as he can also and trusting in the Lord’s provision for the future.
Walking in the Spirit does not mean sticking one’s head in the sand, making poor life decisions with impunity or ignoring what’s manifesting in the natural.
It does mean that we will ask for wisdom, make the best decisions we can, repent for sin and trust in the goodness and grace of God for our desired outcome. Peace, not fear, will accompany the latter approach and other good fruit of the Spirit will come forth.
*More Ways to Enjoy This Post*