Have you ever heard something like this? “You’ll have to excuse him, it’s just his personality to be emotionally aloof, socially offensive, and unapologetically jerk-ish.” We can agree that sometimes people use “personality” and personality tests as excuses to have poor character, yes? But is there any value in personality tests for Christians?
Personality tests offer ways for us to peer into the wiring of what makes us, well, us. I have found immense value in taking personality tests and analyzing my results. For instance, I highly recommend 16personalities.com. It’s there that I discovered I am an ENTJ. But beyond seeing the results they give us when we take one of these tests, there is a hidden thing Christians can learn from personality tests.
The Hidden Thing Christians Can Learn From Personality Tests
We’ll use my results as a little case study (I highly recommend you take the test yourself).
As an ENTJ, I love challenges, I love competition, and I love (can I be honest?) winning. I love thinking strategically and making plans to accomplish things, I love long-term organizational planning, and I love working with smart, motivated people. I am a voracious learner and am extremely growth-oriented.
I’m typically pretty bad at expressing emotion. When I think I’m right, I don’t give in easily. I can be impatient, stubborn, cold, and arrogant.
I can be a pretty terrible person. I may accomplish things, but if I’m not careful, I’ll leave broken relationships in my wake. And that is not at all something I want to do.
But I got all this by simply looking at my results. Let’s bring the hidden thing into the light.
Let’s Reveal the Secret
When we take a personality test, what’s the hidden thing we can learn? Through personality tests, we discover how God will likely sanctify us.
Our strengths are beautiful things. But our weaknesses reveal how we have been affected by sin.
Our strengths show us what we can naturally do. But our weaknesses show us what only God can do in us.
When we analyze the results of our personality test, we must do so with the gospel in mind. We must see our personality in light of the God who makes His power perfect in our weaknesses.
The hidden thing that Christians learn from personality tests is how God seeks to transform us into His image.
You Might Be Wondering:
How does this work? God’s Spirit is at work in every Christ follower and it is by Him and through Him that the depths of our very selves are being transformed into the image of Christ. The Spirit seeks to bring about in us characteristics that will point the world and each other to our loving Lord.
As my heart is softened by the gospel of Jesus, the characteristics in me that are sinful and dark are being transformed by the Spirit of God.
Here’s what this should look like over the course of my life:
- God is taking my love for winning and transforming it into a love for serving.
- God is taking my love for planning and molding a love in me for holy interruptions.
- God is taking my tendency to be drawn to people who are “analysts” like me and is creating in me a drive to be in community with people nothing like me.
- God is taking my love to grow and molding it into a love to grow in Him.
- God is taking my struggle to express emotions and transforming it into a desire to express empathy and compassion.
- God is taking my impatience and transforming it into a peaceful patience.
- God is taking my stubbornness and transforming it into humility.
- God is taking my coldness and transforming it into a heat wave of sacrificial love.
- God is taking my arrogance and chipping it away, piece by piece, sometimes painfully and turning it into confidence, not in me, but in Him.
When I don’t see these things coming about in my life, it is always because I am not obeying Jesus’ command to deny myself and follow Him. Every time.
But Please Don’t Miss This Caveat
Our uniqueness is not something God is trying to fully do away with. In fact, it is our uniqueness and our giftedness that allow the Church to be such a beautiful expression of diversity through the imagery of a body. And this is the key.
Personality tests are very self-centered and we need to realize this. We must see them as tools to help us understand how we are going to be molded by God to be His sons and daughters who are adopted into His family. We are not saved simply for our salvation and sanctification, but we are saved to be brought into the family of God to show the world the hope of our brother, our Lord, our Savior, Jesus.
God wants us to live as He created us. He wants us to use our gifts for His glory. But our gifts are to be expressed in the context of community and in the context of the gospel.
The Bottom Line
If something in us does not bring honor to God, we should expect that God will transform that something into something that does.
If we find that transformation isn’t happening, we must ask ourselves a simple question: am I denying myself and following after Jesus?
What is Your Personality Type? What Have You Learned From it?
And hey, do you have some Christian friends or family who could benefit from this article? If so, would you share it with them?
Let’s Grow Together
I’d love to go on this journey of following Jesus with you and help you engage culture with the gospel. So let’s be email friends. I’d love to send you a copy of my two free eBooks: Bible Hacks: Understanding the New Testament and Do Something: Cultural Crises and the Gospel. And I’d love to give you my free daily devotional: Journey to Knowing God. You’ll get all this (and updates with new content) when you subscribe to the blog.