Meanwhile, Saul (Paul) was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. Acts 9:1
I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault Philippians 3:6
The last example of the temperament types is Paul. Paul is an example of the Choleric Temperament. The Choleric is one who is opinionated, driven, and strongly committed to a cause. Paul showed that he was this kind of an individual from the time he was a Pharisee who was persecuting Christians. Paul believed that they were corrupting the true faith of his people, and he would not stand for that.
Later, after the famous “Damascus Road” experience, Paul remained the committed and strongly opinionated religious leader, but now he was committed to the Christian faith.
Cholerics have strong opinions, and they act upon them. They act fearlessly when they believe that their cause is right, and they can be ruthless in their driven nature. They are strong leaders, and they may have trouble with those who seem less committed than themselves.
Paul was present at the stoning of Stephen, an early Christian martyr, because he believed so strongly that Stephen was an apostate who was corrupting the true faith. Later, Paul himself died a martyr’s death because of those same driven commitments to the truth.
Paul’s zeal to do the right thing is admirable, but zeal must be tempered with openness to hearing another side of an opinion. Paul’s message at Mars Hill, where he preached to skeptics of the Christian faith, was a marvel of listening and openness to alternate world views. Paul continued to have zeal for his faith, but his zeal was now tempered by the grace of the gospel.
Paul’s zeal was evident in his approach to living out his faith. All temperaments are beautiful expressions of our created nature. Our job is to recognize our temperament, manage those specific tendencies carefully, and celebrate the gift that the temperament represents.
Tomorrow, we follow Paul at the Mars Hill event I just spoke about. We will see how he handled his views in the hostile environment, and won over the crowd.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the strengths you bless us with. Help us use them for the good of your people, Amen.