Body, Soul, and Spirit: The Trichotomous You

You are a tri-fold being, existing as body, soul, and spirit. To illustrate, you can visualize a large outer circle to represent your physical body (the biological systems which support your physical life), then a smaller inner circle to represent your soul (your mind, emotions, and will), and also, an inmost circle to represent your spirit (your sanctuary for the presence of God).

Specific to each dimension of your trichotomous nature - body, soul, and spirit - are inborn needs essential to health and happiness. For example, you have needs essential to good physical health, including water, oxygen, food, exercise, and rest. You also have needs essential to good psychological health. In clinical counseling, these needs are referred to as Inclusions needs, Affection needs, and Control needs. A summary definition of these needs is as follows:

Inclusion is your intellectual need for people to be involved in your life for the purpose of information;

Affection is your emotional need for people to be involved in your life for the purpose of intimacy;

Control is your volitional need for people to be involved in your life for the purpose of decision-making;

The measure of your Inclusion, Affection, and Control needs is determined by profile testing and is highly individualized. Also, the information provided by profile testing helps to identify your unique temperament type.

Temperament Types

The National Christian Counselors Association has identified five basic temperament types: the Supine, the Melancholy, the Choleric, the Sanguine, and the Phlegmatic. Knowing your temperament type helps provide insight for understanding your attitudes, motivations, and behavior - for example the following:
  • your need to be alone or to be with people, 
  • your orientation to trust or distrust others,
  • your appreciation for systems, operations, and procedures.
Your Most Essential Need

Most important, however, when considering the essential needs of your trichotomous nature is your spiritual needs. When you were born, your spirit was without life, dead on arrival, so to speak, not unlike a battery casing is dead on arrival from the manufacturer before it is infused with an electric current to give it life. You were born physically alive, but spiritually dead until Christ gave you life.

"In him was life and that life was the light of men." - John 1:4

Grace theology embraces the concept that God has made adequate provisions to meet every human need - physically (through creation), psychologically (through community), and spiritually (through Christ’s death on the cross for you and his resurrected life in you).

Don Loy Whisnant, DCC,LCPC/The Grace Perspective #601

Grace Support for Deliverance from Our Temperament Downside

For five years or more in the early 80's, I was employed to do inspections. Wow, was I ever good at that! We melancholy temperaments are intensely analytical, understand and appreciate systems and order, and are especially gifted to inspect and troubleshoot for problems.

But each temperament strength has its downside, which is the burden. So while we melancholies are gifted to identify "what's wrong," we can become quite consumed with fault finding. (In the unhealthiest of cases, it is to verify our certainty that, indeed, the world has a problem.)

In time, people who are subjected to our nonsense, whether family, friends, or associates, may tend to become intimidated and to feel they have only the options to get out of the relationship with us or to perform to our standard. (It is most sad when they learn to perceive God that way also.)

But that is true only in a world without the Holy Spirit. When he comes into our lives (which he does the moment we trust God's provision of Christ's blood/death on the cross for us), he births and nurtures in us God's divine nature. The fruit of that experience, as we take time each day to be renewed in it (John 15:1-8), is ever increasing love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness (charity), meekness, faith, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). This means we have hope for support to live in the strength of our temperament makeup, and to be delivered from its downside.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 9A30

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