Personality Tests & the Christian Part 3: Examining Our Motives

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This is the third and final installment of the series Personality Tests & the Christian by Julie Trotter. Previous posts include:

Part 1: History & Purpose
Part 2: Application

So, given what we’ve seen about the history and purpose of these personality tests and how that lines up with what the Bible says our goals should be as Christians, how can we exercise caution in using these tests?

I spent the majority of this series writing about the spiritual value of personality tests. But I recognize that most Christians are not using these assessments because of their spiritual value. Just as we do not often choose our television shows based on spiritual value, perhaps to you personality tests are just a fun diversion, not an overtly spiritual practice. Although these tests may seem like harmless fun, here are a few things to consider before indulging in them.

We need to examine our motives. Here are three questions to ask if you find yourself particularly interested in personality assessments.

#1. Do personality tests fill a void I feel to be deeply known and understood?

The common quote, “being in a room full of people and still feeling alone,” comes to mind here. Many of us desire to be fully known and fully loved, but with the intricacies of our personhood, we find it hard to believe that anyone can know us deeply. Personality tests may even be our culture’s way of feeling validated for all of one’s unique attributes. But as Christians, we do not need to seek this kind of validation.

In a recent vlog from Allie Beth Stuckey on the topic of the Enneagram, she says, “Our desire to be fully known, to be unconditionally loved, is found through Christ in God.” Scripture is full of verses that assure us of this truth by telling us that God knows all of our thoughts, our ways, what we want to say and what we actually say, our hearts, our physical make-up (before we were even born), the number of hairs on our heads, and the list goes on and on (e.g. Psalm 139:13–16; Jeremiah 1:5).

“Personality Tests: More Harm Than Good?” Episode 177 of Relatable with Allie Beth Stuckey

God knows us more intimately than we know ourselves, and we can be assured without pagan assessments that we are completely known and deeply understood.

#2. Do personality tests make my selfish tendencies seem less sinful?

Part of the problem with the cultural practice of “self-care” is that it gives us an excuse to indulge in selfish acts, ostensibly for the sake of mental and emotional health. While eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep is important, self-care can extend beyond taking care of our bodies into the territory of splurging for sanity.

Personality tests can feed our fleshly desires by telling us that it is okay—and even good—to do what feels natural to us. Rather than pointing to Christ as the example of who we should be striving to be like, we can instead be tempted to settle for an upgraded model of ourselves. We are encouraged to learn to be comfortable in our own skin when God calls us to be killing the flesh through the Spirit (Romans 8:13).

If personality tests serve to encourage our fleshly inclinations to distrust people, befriend only certain types of people, avoid meeting in a local congregation, treat others poorly, or reject the commands of God in Scripture, they are not from God. We need to think critically about how these tests may cause us to serve self instead of Christ.

#3. Are personality tests a substitute for discerning my spiritual gifts?

In the Bible, spiritual gifts are never equated with personality. They are a matter of function (Romans 12:4-8). Scripture actually gives us many examples of those who felt inadequate, or outside of their realm of comfort when they were given roles by God. For example, Moses was not charged to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian captivity because of his natural eloquence and gregarious personality (Exodus 4:10). Despite his lack of ability, God equipped him with everything he needed to fulfill his purpose. In the same way, spiritual gifts are not given based on what comes naturally to us.

In fact, while personality tests cater to our preferences, spiritual gifts are always spoken about in regard to how they might be used to serve the church. Spiritual gifts are not for our benefit. They are for the mutual edification of the local body of Christ (1 Peter 4:10). Even the discernment of spiritual gifts should come from within the church. So, given the secular nature of personality assessments, it is safe to say that these assessments cannot give us insight into our spiritual gifts. That role belongs to the local church.

Concluding Thoughts

So how should we apply all of this information? I realize this can seem like an extensive study of something that seems relatively insignificant. As believers, however, how we use our time and what we choose to believe (no matter how seemingly small) have broad implications.

Personality tests are rooted in pagan ideas that are contrary to the teachings of Scripture, were created for a purpose contrary to our purpose as believers, are less effective than Scripture, and may tempt us to find our validation, sanctification, and purpose outside of God and His Church. For all of these reasons, I would encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to reevaluate their use of personality tests, being careful not to put these assessments on a pedestal where they do not belong. Having fun is one thing, but we must exercise caution. As Scripture says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

Previous posts in this series:
Part 1: History & Purpose
Part 2: Application

Join the discussion

  • Personally tests are never accurate and misleading at best. You can take personality tests as a game to have a laugh with your friends, but never take seriously.

  • Yes and amen. I’ve been saying this for years but you have made it so understandable. Great talking points, questions to ask and share with others. Thank you for these articles. I don’t encourage anyone to have “fun” with these tests. Instead search scripture and to have the mind of Christ, taking every thought captive. Thanks again.

  • Really well written post. I appreciate the author engaging a topic such as this.

    It is indeed a fact that personality tests are rooted in pagan beliefs and that Christians can oftentimes use these tests to explain their sinful behavior without an authentic repentance.

    I wonder, though, if it is beneficial to jump from extremes? I don’t know that we have to either be all in or all out—just using personality tests for fun—in our engagement of these materials. Is there a way to integrate our right understanding of God with an atheists attempt to explain human behavior and thought?

    It appears that Jung was in a pursuit of truth when he created these assessments, one could maybe say he was ultimately pursuing God, he just didn’t know it.

    I would argue that a believer could use these tests to, yes, gain more knowledge and understanding of themselves, but more so of God, because we were made in His image! Ultimately, this seems like more of a pursuit of wisdom (when done right) because knowledge and understanding come together to show us the beauty behind the bruises when we understand our wiring. Wisdom is, in its truest and most biblical sense, relating rightly to God and others how we ought to relate to them.

    Personality tests can aid us in that. I believe deeply that all truth is God’s truth, so even if it is coming from an unbelievers mouth, it can still be very much truth. Julie’s post is well-thought and researched, I would just love to see us, as believers engage with the culture and invite them into this present Kingdom reality.

    Julie and others, what do you think about this integration of our understanding of God’s word and personality tests? What do you think of my thoughts above? Agree or Disagree?

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