Over two thousand years ago, someone observed that people seem to fall into one of four basic personality types. These were melancholic, sanguine, choleric, and phlegmatic. Today, most psychologists still recognize these four basic temperaments, now referred to as C for cautious (melancholic), I for inspiring (sanguine), D for domineering (choleric), and S for steadiness (phelgmatic). They have also been labeled as Guardians, Artisans, Rationals, and Idealists.
Each personality type has certain strengths. For example, the C type plans his work and works his plan. The I with his outgoing ways inspires people. The D gets thing done. The S type is easy to get along with.
In the Gospels, Jesus has the perfectly balanced personality. We often hear him referred to as “The man with the plan.” Of course. Yet, he also inspired his followers. He persevered and was brave in the face of death. And, yet, throughout, he remained mild and meek. The CIDS was perfectly balanced in him.
Today. let’s consider two seemingly opposite personality traits.
This is what Wikipedia has to say about the Idealist, S, or phlegmatic temperament:
The phlegmatic temperament is fundamentally relaxed and quiet, ranging from warmly attentive . . . content with themselves and are kind. They are accepting and affectionate . . . They are consistent, relaxed, calm, rational, curious, and observant, qualities that make them good administrators. Phlegmatic
Some today have Jesus pegged as a phlegmatic. Does the above sound like Jesus? Of course! He was kind and accepting and affectionate. That’s all true. But that’s not his entire personality. He also has the D-type personality.
Again, listen to this description:
The choleric temperament is fundamentally ambitious and leader-like. They have a lot of aggression, energy, and/or passion, and try to instill it in others. They can dominate people of other temperaments, especially phlegmatic types. Many great charismatic military and political figures were choleric. They like to be in charge of everything. Choleric
Do we view Jesus in this light? Some people prefer the Phlegmatic Jesus, the one who is the people pleaser. We forget his energetic passion, his leadership, his willingness to confront the Pharisees and Sadducees.
His personality was one of balance. While loving and kind, he was also a vibrant, daring leader who inspired his disciples to stand with him against the darkness of the world.
He was both the perfect phlegmatic and the perfect choleric. He was the rational idealist. He was/is demanding, determined, submissive, and supportive all at the same time.
He was/is both lion and lamb.
Let’s grow to be like him and strive to improve on the personality temperament we may be lacking.
Let’s make it our goal to become more Christ-like!
(I’ll discuss the other two personality types in a later post.)