Your Personality Does Not Define You

I love studying personality. The dynamic between people—the way that they behave and interact with one another—is so fascinating to learn about. My favorite personality assessment is the “16 personalities” test. I’ve taken it a few times, and my results are basically always the same. I am an INFJ personality type, standing for introversion (I), intuition (N), feeling (F), and judgment (J). According to research, this is the rarest personality type (ha) and the most highly misdiagnosed.

Studying your own personality type is fascinating (and sometimes kind of creepy—who knew other people are like this too?!), and it can help you learn about your tendencies and understand yourself better. The problem with personality tests, though, is that they start to become an obsession. We begin to define ourselves by our personality types rather than the way that the Bible defines us.

Every time I research various personalities, I think of Romans 8:5, which says, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (NIV). Every personality has its certain tendencies. INFJs, for example, have a tendency to think that, because we are so different from other people, we are somehow better. I do find myself thinking this sometimes. And sure, I could blame it on my personality type. But the bigger issue here is pride. My personality is marred by sin; the not-as-healthy tendencies of my type are not just faults in my personality, they are symptoms of my sinful nature. If I choose to live by these tendencies, I live according the flesh and not the Spirit.

We are each born with different ways of thinking, perceiving, and doing. God did that on purpose. But the way we are born is no excuse for our sin. We must not excuse sin as “just the way we are.” We are born with certain tendencies, but that does not give us a good excuse to sin just because it’s easier. Every person of every personality type is born a sinner.

Especially in the young adult years, people seek to be defined by something. And it’s fun to figure out the ins and outs of personality theory–in fact, I really enjoy it. But we must remember that Christ is the center of our lives—He is what defines us. Being an INFJ is part of my identity, but it is not the core of what defines me—Jesus is. Because of this, I do not have to live according to the tendencies of my personality type. I have the Holy Spirit in me, working to sanctify me to become more like Christ. I can live by His leading and make my identity in Him. I cannot think of any better way to define myself than a child of the God of the universe.

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