Friday, February 2, 2018

The X Type

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:3 NIV)

I remember the first time I took the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a well-known and respected personality test, the results indicated I was an extreme introvert. At the time, I had been in campus ministry for a few years. It clarified things on some of the challenges I had faced in my vocation. It also revealed changes that needed to happen for me to be a healthy and balanced person.

Sometimes we are under the illusion our personalities are fixed and unchangeable. We think we can never be a more extroverted person, or more organized, or more reliant on facts rather than feelings when making decisions, or vice-versa. We tend to believe we will always be who we are now. 

The person who introduced me to the MBTI was, at the time, working on her Ph.D. in Psychology and her doctoral thesis was on the personality of Jesus as viewed through the categories of the MBTI. The hypothesis of her work was that Jesus was the perfect combination of personality traits. She dubbed Him the “X Type.”

This makes sense given that the Hebrew writer says Jesus is the “exact representation” of God, who is perfect (Matthew 5:48). If God is perfect and Jesus is an exact representation of Him, then one aspect of His perfection is His personality. And if we are to pursue perfection in our lives, then it is logical that includes our personalities.

What I realized a number of years later as I reflected on those first MBTI results is that my personality was too extreme in a several areas. I was unhealthily introverted, too much in my head, and too rigid in my thinking. And now as I look at who I am, I realize as I have grown in my relationship with the Lord, I am no longer that man. I have taken the MBTI twice more over the years and the results reflect that change. I am still a strong introvert, but not nearly as much as I used to be. I am still more of a thinker than a feeler, but much less so than I was in my 20’s, and my thinking is more flexible. In other words, I have a more balanced personality than I did when I was younger and have moved closer to being perfect. I am obviously still far from it (just ask my wife!), but I have moved closer to being more like Jesus—a perfectly balanced human being.

Today, think about your personality. Are you like so many who think they can never change? If so, know the Lord is in the changing business. Your core personality likely will remain the same, but where you are out of balance, He can help you move toward the middle.  For the closer you get to Jesus, the more you will become like Him.

© Jim Musser 2018

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