Test Question: Are you a follower of Christ?
If you answered “Yes” to this, the truest picture of who you are and who you were made to be is found in the character and person of Christ. If you answered “No” to this question, then I have some uncomfortable news for you… You will never truly know yourself. That is simply because you were designed to reflect Him. I would compare humans to mirrors, except the mirror does not truly take on the characteristics of what it reflects; it will only ever be glass and mercury. So probably clay is the better metaphor. We are clay, He is the sculptor, without Him we are shapeless lumps of clay bearing the imprints of whatever environment we are placed in. In His hands, however, we are shaped into the Image of Christ and used for His glorious work.
Right now our culture has overwhelmingly embraced a new trend of self discovery and the concept of “Identity.” Gallons of ink and billions of pixels have been spent on the topic of identity, either in an attempt to tell others who they are, help others discover who they are, or tell others who we are. Personality tests like the Myers Briggs and the Enneagram have skyrocketed to popularity in almost all social circles, and on social media thousands of quizzes promise to tell you anything from what your horoscope is to what is your favorite type of pizza based on your preference of Disney movie. Either way, the premise is the same: Certain bits of known information about you will lead to other bits of currently unknown information about you. Or to put it another way, it is all an attempt to learn what we don’t know about ourselves by looking deeply at what we do know about ourselves. It’s suddenly become a very introspective world we live in.
The sad reality of it is, apart from Christ, it is all vanity. It’s one big egocentric waste of time. Why? Because we were not made to determine our own identity. The concept of “Self-Identification” is entirely contrary to who we are. Does this bother you? If so, I understand. For those of us who know the lingo and see the value of personality tests in a Christian context, I’m an 8 on the Enneagram, an ENTJ on the Myers Briggs, and, for what it’s worth, my favorite pizza is Mediterranean. Do with that what you will. But in short, I am by nature the most self-sufficient, self-confident, and self-identified type of person on the planet. By all modern standards, I should have more reason to hate the idea of someone else telling me who I am than anyone. But I have to tell you that before I am any of that, I am a child of God. The God of Abraham is my Father who made me. Jesus Christ is my older brother who leads me. and the Holy Spirit is my companion from whom my strength comes. I did not make myself, I do not lead myself, and my strength does not come from myself. It all comes from Him.
I will not spend time in this post arguing with you over the truth of this reality, primarily because the knowledge of it is innate to all of us. (Romans 1:18-20) You could even say that the knowledge of God is a fundamental element of our identity. Who you are, who I am, is a person who knows there is a God. The only question that matters after that is, “Will you be the type of person who loves what they know of God, or who hates and suppresses what you know?” Long before the 9 Enneagram types, or the 16 Myers Briggs types, all of humanity was put into two categories; Children of Wrath who suppress the knowledge of God, and Children of the Promise who embrace the knowledge of God. (Ephesians 2:3, Galatians 4:28, Romans 9:8 Matthew 12:30). This is the only personality test that ultimately matters.
If you choose to be the type who suppresses the knowledge of God, then you should see your personality, desires, and identity as a cage. It is all you will ever be until one day it becomes all you have, as your wish is granted and you are eternally separated from God and from all you could have been in Him. You will always be haunted by your weaknesses, a slave to your desires, and subject to your fears. To be separated from God is to be forever flawed, never loved truly, to never accomplish anything worthwhile, to be unremarkable, to be ignorant, to reject safety, to never be satisfied, to be weak, and put in constant turmoil.
However, If you choose to be the type of person who belongs to Christ, then your natural gifts are only a fraction of the person you will become. Sure, God will use who you are just as He uses everything else (Romans 8:28), but they will no longer be all that defines or identifies you. Christ, His love, His person, His desires, His character will begin to overtake your own as we are conformed to His image. (Romans 8:29). You won’t lose who you are, but you will no longer be limited to who you are.
Further more, you will no longer be able to use your personality type, whatever it may be, as an excuse not to exercise the strengths of the other types because the fruit of the Spirit looks very much like the strengths of all personality types. (Gal 5:22-23) Who you are is only a small part of who He is, and as a child of God’s it is your destiny to be conformed to all that He is. To be a child of God is to be perfected in Him, to be loved by Him, to be glorified with Him, to be beautiful like Him, to have understanding from Him, to be safe with Him, to experience joy in Him, to have power through Him, and to know His peace. There is no good desire that does not find it’s complete satisfaction in Jesus.
So I challenge you, along with myself, if we identify with anything today, let it be Christ.
“For every look at yourself, take 10 looks at Christ”
~Robert Murray M’Chyene