Title: Spirit Controlled Temperament
Author: Timothy LaHaye (1993)
Have you ever wondered why you are the way you are? Why we are somehow tagged to a weakness that we would just love to overcome.
Well, the answers all comes down to our inherited temperament(s). Yes we’re born with it.
Dr. Timothy LaHaye, is the president of Family Life Ministries in Washington D.C and here, has written a Psychology/Christian Living book which has attracted considerable attention from both Christians and non-Christians. In the Spirit Controlled Temperament, Dr LaHaye paints a picture of each of the temperament (Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy and Phlegmatic) in a very honest manner. Not only highlighting the strengths but also the weaknesses that can hold you back from achieving your goals or even your purpose in life.
An illustration of the temperament from the left: Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Malancholy and Choleric
The author continuously reflects back to the Word and reminds us of the Holy Spirit-filled temperament. Unlike the natural temperament, a Spirit –filled temperament does not have any weakness but only demonstrates the characteristics displayed in Galatians 5:22. And for each of that strength written in that verse is the answer to your natural temperament’s weakness that you may have.
Dr LaHaye goes on further to explain that the roots of our weaknesses comes either or both from anger and/or fear. Which all all stems from selfishness/self-pity and to overcome this it is made clear in the book that we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
In conclusion, Spirit-Controlled Temperament shows the “modified” temperaments — how our natural personality looks when it’s Spirit-controlled. The Spirit-filled Sanguine will show a strength of character in the self-control that s/he needs in her/his life. The Spirit-filled Choleric will be dynamic in his/her love, peace, gentleness, and goodness. The Spirit-filled Melancholy will have a joy and peace which will revolutionize his outlook on life. And the Spirit-filled Phlegmatic will become less stubborn, fearful, and indifferent, while becoming more open, self-controlled, and much more motivated, to make a great, personable leader for Christ. – Gretchen Louise
My general thoughts on the book… (may contain spoilers)
Spirit-Controlled Temperament was a fantastic read – the pages were turning at a good pace. If read and applied well, it is a book that can effect every aspect of your life, from the way you approach your life goals, your work, your marriage and communicating with your spouse. Dr LaHaye demonstrates this in his book with real life testimonies.
One thing I applaud the book for, is that it emphasises on how to use the book and that it should be used for ones self and not for the analysis others. However, this book is a tool that will allow you to appreciate why people you may interact with are the way they are. In addition, the book is also great for understanding and analysising your children’s personality(s) from a young age and will surely give you an insight into you considering ways to discipline/caution as well as giving you an indication of how much “parent- child hugs” might be needed for your children.
What touches me most about the book is that although the weaknesses displayed for each temperament has the tendency to discourage readers, the author is able to give examples of Biblical characters who portray each of the temperaments mentioned above before they were finally filled with the Holy Spirit.
Apostle Peter/Simon Peter – Sanguine
Confident and outspoken, “the disciple who spoke more than all the disciples were put together”.
Aspostle Paul – Choleric
Before he was saved Paul was a procecutor “breathing threats and murder…”. “He later punished himself relentlessly until he had preached the Gospel around the then known world”.
Moses – Melancholy
A man that was filled with self-doubt who eventually trusted God to make him one of the greatest leaders in all history. Unfortunately Moses never had victory over his anger, which limited God’s use in his life.
Abraham – Phlegmatic
When God transformed him he’s “fear, worry and indecision became resolution, and action to the point that more space was given to Abraham in the New Testament than any other person in the Old Testament.
This book is for anyone and everyone, particularly those who have a calling and are tempted into limiting themselves by using their weakness as an excuse for not fulfilling their purpose. It is for the singles who are still trying to find their identity and discover their full potential AND know that they do have potential. It is also for the older generation who feel that they may be stuck in their old habits and believe that they can not change. Well let me tell you, it is never too late to change, not when God is involved.
Available on Amazon.
“No one temperament can be said to be better than another. Each one contains strengths and richness, yet each one is fraught with its own weaknesses and dangers.”
-Tim LaHaye, in Spirit-Controlled Temperament