There are a ton of personality tests, and I have taken many. Some are strictly ridiculous in nature, but some can provide some interesting windows into the workings of each of our particular natures.
Many years ago now, the company I was working for was bought out, and there were changes on the horizon. I decided if the possibility existed that my job might go away, I wanted any career change that I had to make perfect sense for me. I didn’t want to just go out and grab a job, but wanted it to be something I could honestly “rest” in – something I enjoyed, that used my particular skill set well, and something that “enjoyed me”. You know, a place where you feel like you are a piece of the puzzle that was naturally cut for that hole, not one sawed up so it fit, so to speak. In the end, I kept my job, but the test started me learning new things about myself, and personalities in general.
I paid good money to take the advanced, full-featured Briggs Meyers test. I had taken a shorter version in college, and it seemed scientific in nature, accurate, and challenging, rather than a “cutesy” sort of test like some I had taken. The results showed me to be of the smallest percentage of personalities in the world, which answered one big question I had always had. “Why don’t people ‘get’ me?” Reasonably, the smaller percentage personality type one expresses, the more experience is required to really know that person. Since then, I have had a lot more grace for people thinking they know what I am thinking or feeling. It used to just annoy me. I have also developed a great affinity for those who take the time to get to know me, rather than assume, and I love them through mistakes, because I can see they are trying. I have a lot of respect for someone who is really making an effort, even in failure.
But, does having a rare personality type, or, indeed, one that is common, give someone a “pass” to behave in certain ways? Do the 10 commandments in Exodus chapter 20, or the Law of Love in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 become somehow amended to allow for the subtleties of different personality types – their likes, dislikes, giftings, or callings? I have come to believe the opposite.
If I don’t allow someone time to get to know me, that is a lack of patience, which is unloving. If I am simply an impatient person on a general basis, that is self-worship, which demotes our Lord, and makes me my own idol. That breaks the commandment to have no other gods before Jehovah, in Exodus 20, verse three. It is possible to come up with a whole book full of examples along these lines.
In short, my personality is no excuse for my sins, bad habits, or shortcomings. But, and we don’t think of this as often as we should, it is no validation of my achievements either. Whatever gifts I have were given, not taken; not “won”. It is a responsibility, and privilege, to use them to glorify God, and any success I have there is a gift, in itself, from Holy Spirit; like the breath of life. Our process, and, indeed, speed of growth as Christians reflects our willingness, or unwillingness, to use the free will God gave us to cooperate with our Creator in His Plan to mold us further into His Image, all the way to the day we pass fully into God’s Presence. We are never complete to the point we can just sit and revel in our own successes.
Still, those times when you really know that God just used your cooperation through Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s Purposes are some of the most wonderful in our lives. The euphoria of the knowing makes you want to go out and do it again, right away. Then, there is peace in knowing that we CAN cooperate with God, and that, whatever is happening around us, God IS working in us, as well as through us, and the world will be changed by our little episodes of cooperation to His Glory!
Our personality type, though evident as we walk through life, cannot stop God’s Plan, but can be used to cooperate with God’s plan by our own choice. Or, we can refuse, and God will use another, like Esther, to achieve the freedoms He has for us all.
In my heart, I want to be like Esther, who chose freeing her people over her own life.
Est 4:13-16 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” NKJV
Or like Paul, abandoning the life of a respected Pharisee for the achievement of God’s goals for His people, even at the cost of looking like a fool to those who had seen Paul as having great (but lost) potential. Truly, they tried to kill him because of it.
Ac 9:24-30 But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket…And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus. NKJV
Two very different personalities, different lives, at different times in history. Both fashioned by Christ, both used for His Glory. Both expressed cooperation with God (even in the midst of fear of death) and were used by Holy Spirit in a manner that expressed their personalities, but, to a much greater extent, expressed God’s personality to others. These expressions of who they were, cooperating with who God IS, displayed the miraculous work Holy Spirit had done in their lives.
That is our real personality test. Are we cooperating with God, using who we are, to be who Christ created us to be, rather than just achieving personal goals based on our own likes and dislikes, and believing we should get the credit??? Are we reaching toward the goal(s) Christ has set for us, stretching and being stretched, loving because we are loved?
Php 3:12-14 I don’t mean to say that I (Paul) have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. NLT
August 20, 2021