November 14, 2019
There is something unique about everyone. Many of us embrace this truth, while some still have to learn to do so. Acknowledging each other’s differences will help us adjust to others and minimize conflict. Knowing our similarities will help us find common ground with others so we can build relationships. This is why personality tests have become a standard practice in companies, schools, and various organizations—it helps build rapport and makes for a better team.
Understanding ourselves through a proper assessment of our personality is a good thing. Everyone wants to be understood; after all, it is a basic human need. Our understanding of our personality can directly affect our beliefs, values, and behavior. If we’re not careful, we can let it become the most important factor in our decisions.
It is important to ask ourselves: Have we become too boxed in our personality (or what we think our personality is) that we just stay within our comfort zones? Are we willing to go beyond our comfort zones when we’re asked to do something that seems incompatible with our personality?
Maybe we’ve become so obsessed with finding the benefits of knowing our personality that we have lost sight of the real purpose of our being. Perhaps we have been so focused on “discovering ourselves” that we have been complacent in checking whether we are still serving God. Are we still aiming to please God, or are we bent on trying to please ourselves? Do we constantly ask ourselves whether we are already going against God’s will?
Here are some personality-related responses that we may have encountered:
I have stopped relating with a certain group of people because their personality type is incompatible with mine.
I have always wanted to do that, but I think I’m unqualified because I am weak in things relating to that.
I really cannot thrive in that because I am better placed elsewhere.
God does not want that for me. He cannot possibly give me that opportunity because He made me this way.
I cannot entrust this task to that person because I have a bad experience with his personality type.
Are these responses familiar? They sound valid and sensible, especially when we look at past experiences. We respond with these because we want to avoid failures, inconsistencies, and mistakes.
But there is a fine line between withdrawing out of self-preservation and withholding out of self-control. One tries to make excuses, while the other acts in prudence, using careful, good judgment. It is good to have boundaries, and it is important to know our limitations. However, we should always assess if we are acting in the wisdom of God or to preserve ourselves. Can our “self-awareness” actually become a hindrance to God’s plan? Where do we draw the line between sensibilities and disobedience?
Do not withhold good . . . when it is in your power to do it.
If we rely on ourselves for every decision we make, it will reflect on everything that we do. If, however, we rely on God’s Word, some things will fade in the background.
Let us not get trapped in the boxes of our self-understanding, because there is a greater purpose beyond ourselves. More importantly, we cannot limit God in our own perceptions, and we cannot measure His power through our own limitations.
What is the vision God placed in our hearts? How is He accomplishing His purpose in us, even with our strengths and weaknesses? How do we know that our desires are aligned with His plans?
In order to know God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will, our minds need to be renewed and transformed and we should not conform to this world (Romans 12:2).
The world emphasizes the importance of the “self” and the demand for our needs to be met—the need to succeed, to belong, and to be used to our full potential. The world’s pattern pushes us to become overly ambitious, indulgent, and self-gratifying. But if we focus on ourselves, we will miss God’s plan entirely.
God’s will always goes beyond ourselves. We are created to walk in the good works that He had prepared ahead of us (Ephesians 2:10).
In Christ, we have hope and He is aligning our desires to His life-giving ways. This is our motivation. The greatest knowledge that we should strive to attain is the fullness of Christ, and our ultimate purpose is Christlikeness (Ephesians 4:13,22–24). This means that our goal in knowing ourselves is not to box ourselves in, but to see where we need God’s grace to change us to be like Jesus—the perfect embodiment of the image and likeness of God on earth.
As we grow in faith, we bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, as He matures our character. Instead of seeking what makes us happy, we now seek to please God. We then realize that our purpose is to accomplish His work to go and make disciples of all nations, and our desire is to bring glory to His name.
Instead of looking at what we can and cannot do, we must focus on God. His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in our weakness. Instead of comparing ourselves with others, let us allow God’s love to compel us to serve regardless of who we are called to serve. Instead of limiting ourselves to our comfort zones, we must imitate Christ who obeyed and suffered in our place so that we, who are fallen and sinful, can be reconciled to a holy God.
Remember David who used to prefer the company of animals over people, but was used by God to defeat experienced warriors like Goliath and was appointed to rule an entire nation. Remember how the early church was founded and established through the unity of both the uneducated and educated apostles with followers of different cultures.
All these are possible with God’s love. As we walk in love, we follow Jesus’ example (Ephesians 5:1,2). Love and seek God, first and foremost. There is no greater joy and honor than being known and loved by God, because God is love.
We receive His love and let it overflow to other people. We are loved so that we can love.
If we are to be vessels in pouring out His love toward creation, then nothing should separate other people—our friends, enemies, loved-ones, acquaintances, neighbors—from the love of Christ. Not ourselves, let alone our personalities.