We were created to love God and have a relationship with him.
The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. We have almost forgotten that God is a person, and, as such, the relationship can be cultivated as any personal relationship can. A.W. Tozer
Sacred Pathway—the way we relate to God, how we draw near to him. Do we have just one pathway? Not necessarily. Most of us, however, will naturally have a certain predisposition for relating to God, which is our predominant spiritual temperament.
The aim of this book is to help people understand the spirit that God gave them.
We all have a unique mental filter, a characteristic way of responding to the world around us. Our filter tells us which stimuli to notice and which to ignore, which to love and which to hate. It creates our innate motivations. It defines how we think. It forges our prevailing attitudes. It creates in us all of our distinct patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior. From First, Break All The Rules: Buckingham & Coffman
Tolerance for temperaments—We should respect these “different” pathways that aren’t the same as our own. In Christian humility, encourage others to nurture their souls in ways that are most effective for them as long as they remain true to Christian orthodoxy and the Bible.
Nine sacred pathways:
Naturalists—Loving God Out of Doors
Sensates—Loving God with the Senses
Traditionalists—Loving God Through Ritual and Symbol
Ascetics—Loving God in Solitude and Simplicity
Activists—Loving God Through Confrontation
Caregivers—Loving God by Loving Others
Enthusiasts—Loving God with Mystery and Celebration
Contemplatives—Loving God Through Adoration
Intellectuals—Loving God with the Mind
Naturalists—prefer to leave any building, however beautiful or austere, to pray to God beside a river.
Sensates—want to be lost in the awe, beauty, and splendor of God. When these Christians worship, they want to be filled with sights, sounds, and smells that overwhelm them.
Traditionalists—fed by what are often termed the historic dimensions of faith; rituals, symbols, sacraments, and sacrifice. These Christians tend to have a disciplined life of faith. They have a need for ritual and structure.
Ascetics—want nothing more than to be left alone in prayer. Let there be nothing to distract them—no pictures, no loud music, and leave them alone to pray in silence and simplicity.
Activists—serve a God of justice, and their favorite Scripture is often the account of Jesus cleansing the temple. They define worship as standing against evil and calling sinners to repentance.
Caregivers—serve God by serving others. They often claim to see Christ in the poor and needy, and their faith is built up by interacting with other people.
Enthusiasts—excitement and mystery in worship is the spiritual lifeblood of enthusiasts. They are inspired by joyful celebration. These Christians are cheerleaders for God and the Christian life.
Contemplatives—refer to God as their lover, and images of a loving Father and Bridegroom predominate their view of God. The focus is not necessarily on serving God, doing his will, accomplishing great things in his name, or even obeying God. Rather, these Christians seek to love God with purest, deepest, and brightest love imaginable.
Intellectuals—they love God with their minds. They like to study the Bible and other books. They might think; if I am not learning anything new about God, then my relationship feels stagnant.
9 Tests to determine your spiritual temperament
Record your answer 1 to 5. 5 is very true and 1 is not true at all.
Are You a Naturalist?
____ 1. I feel closest to God when I’m surrounded by what he has made—the mountains, the forests, or the sea.
____ 2. I feel cut off if I have to spend too much time indoors, just listening to speakers or singing songs. Nothing makes me feel closer to God than being outside.
____ 3. I would prefer to worship God by spending an hour beside a small brook than by participating in a group service.
____ 4. If I could escape to a garden to pray on a cold day, walk through a meadow on a warm day, and take a trip by myself to the mountains on another day, I would be very happy.
____ 5. A book called Nature’s Sanctuaries: A picture book would be appealing to me.
____ 6. Seeing God’s beauty in nature is more moving to me than understanding new concepts, participating in a formal religious service, or participating in social causes.
Are You a Sensate?
____ 1. I feel closest to God when I’m in a church that allows my senses to come alive—when I can see, smell, hear, and almost taste his majesty.
____ 2. I enjoy attending a “high church” service with incense and formal Communion or Eucharist.
____ 3. I’d have difficult time worshiping in a church building that is plain and lacks a sense of awe or majesty. Beauty is very important to me, and I have a difficult time worshiping through second-rate Christian art or music.
____ 4. The words sensuous, colorful, and aromatic are very appealing to me.
____ 5. A book called The Beauty of Worship would be appealing to me.
____ 6. I would really enjoy using drawing exercises or art to improve my prayer life.
Are You a Traditionalist?
____ 1. I feel closest to God when I’m participating in a familiar form of worship that has memories dating back to my childhood. Rituals and traditions move me more than anything else.
____ 2. Individualism within the church is a real danger. Christianity is a corporate faith, and most of our worship should have a corporate expression.
____ 3. The words tradition and history are very appealing to me.
____ 4. Participating in a formal liturgy or prayer-book service, developing symbols that I could place in my car, home or office, and developing a Christian calendar for our family to follow are activities that would enjoy.
____ 5. A book titled Symbolism and Liturgy in Personal Worship would be appealing to me.
____ 6. I would really enjoy developing a personal rule (or ritual) of prayer.
Are You an Ascetic?
____ 1. I feel closest to God when I am alone and there is nothing to distract me from focusing on his presence.
____ 2. I would describe my faith as more internal than external.
____ 3. The words silence, solitude, and discipline are very appealing to me.
____ 4. Taking an overnight retreat by myself at a monastery where I could spend large amounts of time alone in a small room, praying to God and studying his word, and fasting for one or more days are all activities I would enjoy.
____ 5. I would enjoy reading the book A Place Apart: Monastic Prayer and Practice for Everyone.
____ 6. I would really enjoy spending time on a night watch, taking a short vow of silence, simplifying my life.
Are You an Activist?
____ 1. I feel closest to God when I’m cooperating with him in standing up for his justice: writing letters to government officials and newspaper editors, picketing at an abortion clinic, urging people to vote, or becoming familiar with current issues.
____ 2. I get very frustrated if I see apathetic Christians who don’t become active. I want to drop everything else I’m doing and help the church overcome its apathy.
____ 3. The words courageous and confrontation and social activism are very appealing to me.
____ 4. Activities like confronting social evil, attending a meeting to challenge the new curriculum before the local school board, and volunteering on a political campaign are important to me.
____ 5. The book written by Frank Schaeffer, A Time for Anger, would be an important book for me to read.
____ 6. I would like to awaken the church from it apathy.
Are You a Caregiver?
____ 1. I feel closest to God when I see him in the needy, the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned. I feel God’s presence most strongly when I am sitting quietly beside the bed of someone who is lonely or ill or taking a meal to someone in need. You can count on me to offer a ride or volunteer for helping activities.
____ 2. I grow weary of Christians who spend their time singing songs while a sick neighbor goes without a hot meal or a family in need doesn’t get help fixing their car.
____ 3. The words service and compassion are very appealing to me.
____ 4. I sense God’s power when I am counseling a friend who has lost a job, preparing meals for or fixing the car of a family in need, or spending a week at an orphanage in Mexico.
____ 5. A book entitled 99 Ways to Help Your Neighbor would be appealing to me.
____ 6. I would rather nurse someone to health or help someone repair their house than teach an adult Sunday school class, go on a prayer and fasting retreat, or take a lonely walk in the woods.
Are You an Enthusiast?
____ 1. I feel closest to God when my heart is sent soaring and I feel like I want to burst, worship God all day long, and shout out his name. Celebrating God and his love is my favorite form of worship.
____ 2. God is an exciting God, and we should be excited about worshiping him. I don’t understand how some Christians can say they love God, and then act like theyre going to a funeral whenever they walk into church.
____ 3. The words celebration and joy are very appealing to me.
____ 4. I would enjoy attending a workshop on learning to worship through dance or attending several worship sessions with contemporary music. I expect that God is going to move in some unexpected ways.
____ 5. I would enjoy reading the book The Mystery and Excitement of Walking with God.
____ 6. I spend more money on music and worship tapes than on books.
Are You a Contemplative?
____ 1. I feel closest to God when my emotions are awakened, when God quietly touches my heart, tells me that he loves me, and makes me feel like I’m his closest friend. I would rather be alone with God, contemplating his love, than participating in a formal liturgy or being distracted by a walk outside.
____ 2. The most difficult times in my faith are when I can’t feel God’s presence within me.
____ 3. The words lover, intimacy, and heart are very appealing to me.
____ 4. I really enjoy having thirty minutes of uninterrupted time a day to sit in quiet prayer and hold hands with God, writing love letters to him and enjoying his presence.
____ 5. I would enjoy reading The Transforming Friendship.
____ 6. When I think of God, I think of love, friendship, and adoration more than
Are You an Intellectual?
____ 1. I feel closest to God when I learn something new about him that I didn’t understand before. My mind needs to be stimulated. It’s very important to me that I know exactly what I believe.
____ 2. I get frustrated when the church focuses too much on feelings and spiritual experience. Of far more importance is the need to understand the Christian faith and have proper doctrine.
____ 3. The words concepts and truth are very appealing to me.
____ 4. I feel close to God when I participate in several hours of uninterrupted study time-reading God’s word or good Christian books and then perhaps having a opportunity to teach (or participate in a discussion with) a small group.
____ 5. A book on church dogmatics would be appealing to me.
____ 6. I spend more money on books than music tapes.