Psychology, the way people think, has always been a fascination of mine. I took enough psychology classes in college to have been awarded a minor, but the engineering department did not want to award it (some things hard-core engineers will not “sink” to do). Great care must be used by a Christian in this area (especially if we are tempted to supplant the gospel), but the concepts can often be redeemed.
Temperament theory has roots in the psychology of Carl Jung, but can be traced back to Hippocrates. It is undeniably imperfect, and some have even rejected the theories altogether. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has probably been the most successful application of these theories.
(Note: be wary of some of the information on web sites that talk about Myers-Briggs. Good guidelines are located here.)
I am an INJT (see here and here). I am not unique in this. By type, I keep my feelings “close to my vest.” One INTJ put it like this, “I have deep feelings; they are just none of your business.”
It might surprise those who know a little about INTJ’s (especially those who know me personally) that I want to be happy. Not just happy-go-lucky, smile all the time, laugh at everything type happy, but truly happy. The more sanguine among us can have that approach.
I want to be happy in the sense of being “blessed” or “delighted.” It might help to remind of the old adage, “Still waters run deep.”
John Piper has been a great help to me in many ways. His teaching, though imperfect, has reinforced much of what I have learned about the way my heart works.
God made us to live a moral life, and we should not be surprised that moral living gives us joy. This joy is at a profound level that can even motivate us to give our lives over to suffering and death on Christ’s behalf. The idea is not that our happiness is the greatest good; it is that God’s glory is what we are made for. Living for His glory gives us joy.
I have not found a worldview or religion that can come close to Christianity in providing joy in my life. This joy has lead to great positive changes, and I will describe those changes in the last post of this series.