We should be less focused on the personality stereotype of a test or survey and more concerned that we showcase the glory and grace of God, no matter what our inclinations may be. These tests can help us see the unique ways we can bring glory to Christ, but in the end, finding myself isn’t the goal. Following Christ is what counts.
I enjoy personality tests. Some are more helpful than others, but at their best, surveys tell you something about yourself and the people you live or work with. (I’ve discovered I’m an extrovert in a family of introverts, although the jury’s still out on our youngest!) I’m partial to the Myers-Briggs, but I’ve engaged in multiple tests over the years, at work and for fun.
The problem with personality tests, though, is we can sometimes dismiss or diminish clear biblical standards that don’t align with our self-perception.
A Christian’s Talk
Take, for instance, what James 1:19–20 says about a Christian’s talk and temperament:
My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness (CSB).
In our cultural context, it’s never been easier to speak and to be heard. The internet, social media…all these new technologies have made it possible for us to say more things publicly than in any other time in human history, to the point some cultural observers wonder out loud, Is this even good for us? Should we be taking in this much information or putting out so many words? Were humans ever intended to speak so much?
Everything in our world makes it easy to speak quickly. There’s nothing out there designed to help you learn to listen well. The way stuff is set up online, the way people climb the ladder socially or professionally, the way people debate—everything is set up for speech. Say something! But Proverbs 17:27–28 says,
The one who has knowledge restrains his words,
and one who keeps a cool head is a person of understanding.
Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent—
discerning, when he seals his lips (CSB).
In other words, if you’re wise, you won’t talk as much. You’ll restrain your words. You won’t vent all your frustrations. You won’t say everything you feel.
Some will say, “Hey, I’m a talker! I’m just being real! That’s just my personality. I blurt things out. I just say stuff without thinking. It’s my Myers-Briggs. That’s my Enneagram number. Have you seen my StrengthsFinders? I’m just keeping it real.”
Sorry, but if you’re a Christian, that’s not what “keeping it real” means. James doesn’t say to be quick to listen and slow to speak unless you’re extroverted. Unless you’re talkative. Unless you have a big following on TikTok or Instagram. No, what he says goes for all of us.