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Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God, focuses on nine unique spiritual temperamentsalong with knowledge on the virtues, pitfalls, and attributesbeneficial to growth in an individual’s spiritual life and an empowered journey with God. The book carries us on the journey of the sacred pathway beginning with the garden of Gethsemaneleading on this path to a discovery of the nine spiritual temperamentsending up back in the garden with God, on a deepened relational level, through self-exploration.
In Part 1, the author, Gary Thomas, takes us on the journey of a closer walk with God through the sacred pathway leading to Him.
What exactly is a sacred pathway? According to Thomas, a sacred pathway is our soul’s path to God (Thomas 2010, 48). Put more simply, it is how we best relate to our Heavenly Father. The basic idea is this: God created us all uniquely. Because we are all unique, we view and interact with the world and with God accordingly.
And, as long as we are seeking God honestly and with our whole being, the actual method will vary but the results will be the same; God will be glorified and we will be blessed (Thomas 2010, 36-43). Seeking God is all about the journey of the soul and the sacred pathway leading to the garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane is the sacred space, where we can spend time with God. Part 2 of Sacred Pathways, the author lays out nine sacred pathways commonly found among Christians. He walks us through the process of exploration of each path or spiritual temperament and how it contributes to your worship style.
Further exploration will not only identify your own style with its strengths and temptations, but also provides encouragement to experiment with other styles to enhance your spiritual growth. A summary of the nine temperaments are as following:
Having defined the sacred pathways, it is very important that we understand that no sacred pathway is better than another and Jesus Christ exhibited perfection in all of them. Part 3, the final and fairly short chapter is very useful for helping make a plan for Spiritual growth based on temperament, while maintaining a good balance with areas that may be less comfortable. As growing Christians, we may begin our faith journey by most identifying with only one or two pathways. But as we begin to let the Holy Spirit work in us and we become more like Christ, we will begin to grow into other pathways and develop new ways to worship and to commune with God, in the garden.
My Top-3 Spiritual Temperaments
A spiritual pathway is a way that an individual communes with God most effectively and naturally. Utilizing the spiritual pathway and understanding of the each temperament is a great tool for spiritual renewal. From my reading and the completion of the nine quizzes, I have discovered that I am a Contemplative (score = 26), an Intellectual (score = 24), and a Caregiver (score = 22). I also show tendencies in the Naturalist, Enthusiast, and Activists Categories. [(And if all of this sounds vaguely like a Myers-Briggs style personality test for worship styles then you wouldn’t be far off of the mark.) Thomas 2010, 45].
Personally, I think we should see the concept of spiritual pathways as a starting point, not a limitation, to perceive and discover the way God has wired each of us to uniquely commune with him. This being said; there was no surprise in the results. As a Contemplative, I crave time to sit at my Savior’s feet and enjoy His Company. This is new to me, in my walk on the sacred pathway. There was a time it was not evidenced as a strong spiritual temperament. I now identify with Mary more than Martha in this regard. I want to meditate on His greatness and explore the depths of His love in with all my heart, soul and mind.
As an Intellectual, I am fully engaged while discovering new truths about the Lord. There is a strong desire for knowledge and a tendency to read everything possible to grow spiritually. I have become a perpetual student and a new found joy results out of studying and exercising the mind in the pursuit of Godly wisdom and direction.
As a Caregiver, I want to be like Jesus in his desire to serve others. My connection is through the care of others, and worshipping God by providing and helping those who are unable to help themselves. On a side note: Caregivers and Contemplatives (another sacred pathway I think of Mary and Martha again) often do not see eye to eye but both are valid forms of worship as long as the object is God and His glory. It is interesting that both of these temperaments are relevant to me, in the seeking of worship.
Why the does this information matter and how does this help? First, it has helped identify those activities and exercises that best feed me spiritually. I need to prioritize prayer and meditation every day and give myself plenty of time to just sit in my Father’s presence. Second, I also need to be involved in what God is doing in as many ways as possible while I develop servanthood and discipleship, in my walk with the Lord, on the sacred pathway. Finally, I have to intentionally, find the time and make the effort to continue to learn, study and exercise the brain that God has given me.
The knowledge and understanding brought forth from Sacred Pathways resonated to me on a new level. As a spirit formed leader, there is a responsibility to discern worship, personally, to a greater degree. This illumination has created an earnest to develop other attributes contributing to worship and seeking God in the garden. The final result is to emulate Christ who was perfect in all the temperaments.
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