Personalidolatry

I love personalities.

I love observing the nuances and underlying subtleties in people.

I’ve probably categorized you into a nice little box with others similar to you in the recesses of my mind… assessing how you perceive the world around you, why you do what you do, and the distinct motivational pattern beneath.

In fact, you probably do the same thing.

On the surface, it’s simply mind candy for me — something to subconsciously chew on without using up too many braincells.

Personality tests have served me in this area (or perhaps I’ve served them). According to Myers Briggs, if you’re decisive and structured, then you’re considered “Judging” (this doesn’t mean your judgmental, though it doesn’t negate it entirely… it simply means you primarily make quick decisions using either your values/emotions or logic/reason, and stick with it). I wish I was that way, but I’m not. There have been many times I’ve tried to be this way, because I saw how well others look up to someone who can come down hard and fast on something, quickly, and stick with it. Unwavering. It’s a mark of a strong leader. I want that, and perhaps I can grow in that area, but my goodness, it’s not me. I’d rather speculate my options for a long time before I make a decision.

Even Spiritual Gifts tests or Fivefold Ministry (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Shepherd, Teacher)… though let’s be honest, what these tests are quantifying are motivations and passions, NOT gifts/ministries (otherwise a nonchristian would get a “0” since the Spirit of God, who bestows gifts and ministries, is not in them. Just saying).

I’ve discovered something through all the tests I’ve taken (and given).

There’s a deeply rooted insecurity:

I want to be significant.

And if I can understand what makes you tick, then I can emulate all the qualities I perceive as helpful to whatever it is I want or need to accomplish. Maybe that’s adaptability. Or maybe that’s just plain ol’ idolatry.

To think that being an ENTP (visionary – mbti), with gifts in teaching, leadership, evangelism, discernment and being marked as a Prophet, Apostle, Teacher in ministry according to APEST qualifies anyone for God’s work is ludicrous. It’s not personality. It’s not wiring. It’s not gifting. It’s not knowledge. It’s not skills. It’s God.

First, any abilities I have to “boast” in are from the Giver Himself, not from me. Secondly, God called a variety of people in the Bible, all of which looked different and had different wirings. Moses thought himself poor in communication, but God chose him. When it was Joshua’s time to lead, God said to him “Moses is dead!” as if to say “don’t compare yourself to him… do YOUR ministry which I have called you to do. You will do things different than Moses. You will actually be the one to lead My people into the promised land.” I’m convinced Timothy was a sort of weak man, unsure of himself and lacked real confidence, hence Paul’s admonitions to him that the Spirit in him is not of fear, but of “power, love and a sound mind” and that Paul urges him to fulfill his own ministry. Not to do Paul’s ministry, but to do his ministry.

There are all sorts of church planting assessments that will include these sorts of evaluations… most of them talk about the “number one guy” who has to possess these sorts of qualities, personality, giftings, and skill set. Maybe there’s some human wisdom in this, but more time is spent on qualification through abilities and not through the One who has abled him in the first place. Are we looking for someone who looks good in man’s eyes or in God’s eyes? Because if God calls you to something, He will equip you for it as well. The only thing really worth considering is this: “is he/she called by God to do this work? have they proved their character through the years? what does that community around say? Godspeed.”

This is not meant as a rant. More of a warning… don’t fall for the lie that says your worth is based on what you do or what others say about you. Instead, find your identity in what Christ has done for you and what God has said about you. And if you’re questioning God’s call on your life, remember it’s God who qualifies, not man.

Also, this is a public apology. If I’ve caused you to question yourself because of the tests I’ve asked you to take, I am very sorry. That wasn’t my intent, but regardless of intention, I feel the need to ask forgiveness. I still think these tests have their place, but they have to be regarded as subservient, rather than as master. They are helpful in discovering blindspots and providing a language for what we do (helping us to understand ourselves and others… I’ve seen it’s good in my marriage, and in team building stuff), so I still would recommend them, but they are not ultimate. THEY ARE NOT ULTIMATE. And the moment they replace God, that’s the moment we serve a new master, whose yolk is not easy and whose burden is not light.

I’m pleading with you… find your hope in God. Because in any form of ministry, He is the only thing that will prove timeless and true.

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4 thoughts on “Personalidolatry

  1. Agree on your post, but esp. this below 110%. Mainly because in determining ministry types or what our skill set is, we forget this is the ultimate question, (the one below)

    The only thing really worth considering is this: “is he/she called by God to do this work? have they proved their character through the years? what does that community around say? Godspeed.”

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