The Strength Test
You are listening to Joni and friends. Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada.
Last fall, I took one of those strength assessment tests alongside my coworkers at Joni and Friends. It’s the kind of test where you learn if you are a support person (on the scale, those people are colored blue) or if you are a detail person (that’s green) or an assertive person (that’s red). Well, my husband Ken Tada and I work with six other women in our department, and everybody was mostly a support person colored blue. I was the only one who came out red. Don’t jump to conclusions, red on this assessment test means many good things. But it also means a few not-so-nice things about who I can be as a person. Like some of that assertiveness can come out as aggressiveness. I also can be very stiff-necked, very perfectionist, and very stubborn.
I thought about that test recently after I committed a stubborn, willful sin (I’m not going to go into details here), but I knew what I was doing when I resisted the Spirit’s caution. But guess what, I didn’t care. The “red” in me was coming through, and I knew I was being stubborn. It was one of those “it’s my way or the highway” sort of things, you know what I mean? Well, about two or three days afterward, I sensed the distinct withdrawal of the Holy Spirit’s power in my life. It felt awful! It wasn’t until I cried out to God while reading Psalm 51, “[O Lord,] take not your Holy Spirit from me” that I once again sensed His nearness and approval… and for me it was an even better lesson than taking that strength assessment test! In fact, I looked at all the bad aspects of my “red” character on those test results and I prayed earnestly: “Oh Jesus, keep me from becoming like that; willful and stubborn, and aggressive.”
In short, keep me from falling back into my natural self. The things of the flesh war against the things of the spirit, and I want the Holy Spirit to do war on my behalf. I want him to keep me from being led astray. And friend listening, I want you to join me in asking God to keep you from disobeying when the shorter, easier route is tempting. Keep us in our youth when our passions are strong; Oh Father, keep us in old age when we think we know it all; Oh Jesus, keep us in the valley when we’re prone to complain. God, keep us from hogging the spotlight and failing to give credit where credit is due. Lord Jesus, keep us from constantly talking about ourselves, and keep us focused on the needs of others, rather than on our own. Keep us from nagging, scolding, chiding and manipulating. Keep us from fudging the truth. Keep me from stubborn, willful, stiff-necked behavior. In short, oh Jesus, keep me from overdoing the “red” parts of who I am!
The nearness of the Holy Spirit is a very precious thing. You don’t want to risk, you don’t want to jeopardize that closeness with Him. And it’s why it is wise to ask Him to keep you; to fight for you. And Jude 23-25 says it best: “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence; to the only God our Savior be glory, and majesty, and power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” Did you catch that? God is able to keep you from falling, falling back into the default mode that is your own old nature. So today, please, please ask the Holy Spirit to keep your heart pure, your spirit bright, and your conscience clean, no matter if you are a “blue” support person or a “green” detail person or like me, “red” to the core. God bless you and thanks for listening.
By: Joni Eareckson Tada
© Joni and Friends