I’m an ISTJ. If you are familiar with the Meyers-Briggs personality test, you probably know what that means. (If not, don’t worry about it.)
As humans, we have a craving to know ourselves. Personality tests abound. Our culture preaches that the way to a better life is to follow your heart. To be true to yourself. As I read on a blog recently: “[We try] in futility to save ourselves through… trying to be true to our authentic selves.” (Source)
It seems there are two ditches with personality— either the temptation to make it our god, to revolve our lives around who we are, or to feel like we are never enough, always less than, and have nothing to offer.
Neither of these is God’s intention for you and me. Instead, I want to share some life-changing truths about personality with you. Let’s ensure that our perspective comes from the Word of God, not culture.
First– it is important to begin this conversation with a recognization that we are not our own. God created us. (Genesis 1:27; 5:1,2; Psalm 148:5; Isaiah 45:12) God gives to all men life and breath and all things. (Acts 17:24-25) He is the Creator of life, the Creator of personality. Your personality was not chosen by random. Given by God– those words define everything.
We also were purchased with the blood of Jesus. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 7:23) He redeemed us with His life-blood. We do not belong to ourselves. Every part of our lives– circumstances, bodies, talents, finances, relationships, and, yes, personality belong to Jesus.
As a result, we could turn to complaints against our Creator— but instead, we should turn to surrender.
Material for Sacrifice
Elisabeth Elliot has this phrase that I love– “material for sacrifice.” She wrote.
Loneliness itself is material for sacrifice. The very longings themselves can be offered to Him who understands perfectly. The transformation into something He can use for the good of others takes place only when the offering is put into his hands. (Elisabeth Elliot)
I like to think this regarding everything in my life, not just loneliness. Romans calls us to present our bodies as living sacrifices. (Romans 12:2) Whether you delight in your personality or seek to disguise it in shame, we are all the same here. We have material for sacrifice. A personality to offer back to Jesus, the One who gave everything for us.
Just as He takes loneliness and transforms it into something good, each personality finds its true definition in His hands. Whether or not you feel it is a gift, it is. Your personality is something to offer back to Jesus.
The True Definition
When we allow personality to define us, we often justify sinful attitudes or actions— making that the rationalization for not doing what we know we should or excusing that which we know we shouldn’t.
Surrendering to Jesus means that we allow Him to bring the necessary conviction. We allow Him to expose where personality has become a shield for sin.
A personality surrendered to Jesus is one full of life. By surrender, we become who He made us to be. When we surrender to Jesus He does more than we can ever imagine.
What About Insecurity?
God often chooses to do more with our weaknesses and insecurity than our strengths. Insecurity can turn our eyes to Jesus in dependence, and to our neighbors in encouragement.
Paul boasted in his weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) The power of Christ rested on him, not in his strength, but his helplessness. Furthermore, he tells us that God chooses to use the weak to shame the strong. (1 Corinthians 1:26-31) We also can choose to see insecurity as a gift.
If we allow it to increase our dependence upon Jesus, how could that be a bad thing? Anything that causes us to gain more of Jesus is a gift. Let your insecurity push you to Christ.
Insecurity enables us to recognize the gifts given to others. Realizing your lack provides the advantage of seeing where others exceed. If you allow it, this can be a huge benefit to others. Rather than focus on yourself, you can turn insecurity into encouragement for those around you.
Condemnation is not from God. Treasure up the Word of God in your heart. (There are a lot of places to begin in this post.) Preach Truth to yourself. But don’t forget that the best antidote to insecurity is self-forgetfulness.
Only in Jesus does personality becomes the beautiful gift He created it to be. Only in knowing Him, not ourselves, will we find eternal life. (John 17:3)
A Personal Story
I remember standing on the stage before fifty or so people. I clutched the microphone in my hand and tried to keep my shaking knees inconspicuous. I remember that day because it was the first time I spoke before a group without fear. The nervousness paled against my statement that I would rather be martyred than get up there and speak.
Since that day, I have had many more opportunities to speak before groups. A passion for communicating Truth replaced the paralyzing fear. I look forward to opportunities to talk now. And most often, I don’t even feel nervous.
If you had asked me five years ago if I would enjoy public speaking, the answer would have been a resounding no. I couldn’t have imagined ever not fearing it. But as I surrendered this area of my personality to the Lord, I have seen Him take one of my weaknesses and convert it to strength.
I am so glad I didn’t “do me.” Oh, how I would have missed the joy of seeing the Lord transform my personality into what He always meant it to be.