Traditionally, Christian discipleship has involved taking the truth and principles Jesus taught and seeking to make individuals think and behave like Jesus did.
It's hard to imagine a worthier goal than growing more Christlike. And worth questioning how to help people do this. If we mechanically stamp the image of Christ onto people the way we rubber-stamp an envelope, we risk creating superficial Christian behavior that is not integrated with the depth dimensions of their personality.
What if we start with Christ's behavior as revealed in Scripture and place Jesus at the center of a personality model? One that helps Christians grow psychologically and spiritually, not as Jesus' clone, but as a unique individual in Christ.
Dan and Kate Montgomery propose that such a process of Christian discipleship can emerge from using the Self Compass: an empirically validated growth tool that promotes healthy personality and relationships, while reflecting Jesus' behavior in the Gospels.
The Self Compass equips Christian discipleship with a personality model that enables Christians to understand inner conflicts, thoughts, feelings, the unconscious, and healthy versus unhealthy communication. Through this knowledge Christians can more effectively love God and others as they love themselves.
Utilizing the LAWS (Love/Assertion; Weakness/Strength) embedded in the Self Compass allows individuals to intuitively cooperate with Christ's transforming power in their personality. This process of discipleship combines biblical fidelity with psychological maturing.
Employing the Self Compass growth tool means that Christians express both tender care and diplomatic assertion. They are competent and strong, yet at the same time humbly aware of their weaknesses, maintaining free and equal access to all four compass points. To study how Christ's Self Compass is the definitive model for thinking, feeling, and acting with compass balance, read Compass Psychotheology: Where Psychology and Theology Really Meet.
Love lets individuals care for themselves and others, drawing out their potential for nurturance, compassion, and forgiveness. Love provides the bridge of intimacy that connects them to people in caring ways. But no one remains loving all the time. There are times to stand up for yourself and negotiate for what is fair and just. Assertion allows people to do just that: express their point of view with diplomacy.
Weakness helps Christians accept as normal the times when they feel uncertain or anxious. When they admit these vulnerable feelings into awareness, they can freely acknowledge their clay feet and ask for help when needed. On the other hand, Strength provides a sense of competence, confidence, and personal power. Healthy strength encourages Christians to achieve their best, while humbly acknowledging their weaknesses.
Christian discipleship can effectively help Christians become like Christ, each in their individual way, especially with the compass points of Love and Assertion, Weakness and Strength up and running. Jesus’ behavior in the Gospels reveals this personality balance and flexibility, and modern research on personality affirms these attributes as crucial for mental health.
The correlation of Jesus’ personality with the Self Compass combines a psychological and spiritual understanding of Christ, with trust in the Holy Spirit to indwell and influence a Christian's personality and relationships.
For the definitive book connecting the Self Compass with
Christian transformation and discipleship, read: