Strengths Finder, Enneagram, DISC… all of these are tests designed to help understand yourself better. One of the most popular is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Their website claims that over 153 million people have taken their test. (https://www.16personalities.com) You can take a short online test that will ask you a variety of questions and will give you a result indicating your likes and dislikes, patterns of interacting, strengths and weaknesses, etc.
We recently took this test as a staff to know and understand one another better. I’m what they call an “ESFJ” which stands for Extraverted Sensing Feeling Judging, which is somewhat confusing. Folks have come up with ways of simplifying and explaining the titles. According to these guides I’m “The Consult”, or using Lord of the Rings characters, I’m Boromir. I like those. But using the Star Wars characters, I’m supposedly “Jar-Jar Binks”. Really? Ugh! No doubt that’s payback for all the jokes I’ve made over the years at his expense…
Regardless of the results, these tests are fun and fascinating because they tap into the latent narcissistic tendency we all have to focus on ourselves. We love to think about ourselves, study ourselves, and tell others about ourselves. Now, while there are benefits to these tests, on our darker days we can use these test results to exalt or condemn ourselves, rationalize bad behavior, or judge others. The very tools designed to help us get along better can actually divide us. At very least, we may spend more time talking about our test results than actually being more productive because of them!
Add to this list of tests the “Spiritual Gifts Test”, again available to take from many places online. Answer a few questions and in minutes a computer algorithm will provide you with definitions and descriptions of which “gift” or “gifts” you’ve received from the Holy Spirit. Again, there’s nothing wrong with seeking to understand ourselves better, but it’s all too easy to use what was intended by God to be “for the common good”, to hurt each other and the cause of Christ instead.
The church in Corinth didn’t need any computer programs to have divisions and discord among themselves. Pride and selfishness have always been “low tech”. Paul had clear words of rebuke and correction for the church that had allowed their self-absorbed interests to create strife and division in their midst.
What if our attention was not on ourselves, or even the “gift” we receive, but on the GIVER? What if we sought to be like the Lord Jesus and focus on the people and ministry opportunities that are around us? What did Paul say to the church in Corinth that we may have misunderstood, that causes us to put the focus in the wrong place? How can we return to a correct focus? Read over 1 Cor. 12:1-11 as we study these issues on Sunday.
For Christ alone,
P.S. Don’t forget to put your clocks back on hour on Saturday night. Otherwise we’ll have people showing up EARLY to the first service on Sunday! 🙂