Personality Tests in Light of the Gospel
Have you ever taken a personality test? Perhaps your employer required it or maybe you stumbled across one on the Internet. The test options are endless: Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, DISC, and Winslow Personality Profile, just to name a few.
What do all of these tests have in common? They all seek to explain why people do what they do. This is not a new concept; in fact, for thousands of years, people have been coming up with theories trying to explain human behavior.
For example, I’m an ISTJ (Myers-Briggs) and a 1w9 (Enneagram). These types are described as “The Logistician” and “The Reformer.” This tells me that while I value order, am responsible, and am driven, I lack compassion, am judgmental, and am too hard on myself and others. When my husband (then-fiancé) and I were asked to take personality tests during premarital counseling, I scored off the charts when it comes to sympathy…as in, I apparently have none. (The poor guy married me anyways.)
Take Them for What They Are
While personality tests can be fun and even useful when it comes to identifying our strengths, weaknesses, and communication styles, sometimes we get too caught up in what other people say about us. Instead, we should be focusing on what God says about us.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy exploring different personality types and learning what makes people tick. I have found that it helps me sympathize more and listen better. It helps me become more aware of my flaws. It has even helped me understand my loved ones better, especially my husband, who is the total opposite of me. In becoming more aware of my critical spirit, I have been reminded that salvation is not earned. No matter how hard I try to be perfect, do things the right way, or be seen by others as “good,” I am far from perfect. I was born with an Adamic nature, which means I sin daily. And I am not good.
The Good News
But, there is good news! Identifying our strengths and weaknesses, whether we use a test or not, should always point us back to Christ. Even our best strengths falter and our weaknesses follow us daily. But in our inadequacy, Jesus’s perfect strength is put on display. Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NASB). We can rejoice in knowing that we trust a Savior who understands our daily struggles and who has given us His strength. His mercies are new every morning. This is why we must deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily, and follow Him (Luke 9:23).
Personality tests can be useful tools to gain insight into yourself and others, but be on guard against defining yourself based upon human criterion; instead, look to the Bible to find your identity in Christ. He created you in His own image (Genesis 1:27). The God of the universe loves us so deeply that He sent His only Son, who was perfect and without sin, to die on a cross to suffer the wrath that you and I deserve (John 3:16). He did this so that He could have a personal relationship with you and so you could spend your life glorifying Him (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Remember Whose You Are
Take personality tests for what they are; a man-made tool that can be useful, yet flawed. Soon the tests that are popular now will become outdated and replaced by a new concept. To truly find your identity, look to God’s infallible word that never changes. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”