I wrote the bulk of this post first as a comment in response to another comment on Better Bibles Blog. But I caught myself before submitting it, because I realized it would probably be better as a post here than a comment there.
For background, Wayne Leman has a survey in progress about personality types and Bible translation preferences. The whole comment thread is great reading. I’m always amazed at how many bloggers are iNtuitives (using the MBTI descriptions), and I’ve noticed that again in the comments section.
In any case, one comment pushed an emotional button. (Pushed a button for me isn’t negative–it’s just that when someone says something that touches an emotion, I respond in a way that I can never do when I just try to think about it or write about it from my head.) Here are selections from a commenter named Bill:
Now, to say that “I AM” a certain type… that assumes I always follow my own past tendencies. But then there’s following the Lord in my spirit…
What is the “tendency” of someone who follows the Lord?
They’re (hopefully) an L-O-R-D. 🙂
…to be completely fair, I’m pretty sure Briggs-Meyers professionals will say no one “absolutely” follows one of the 16 temperments all the time, either.But their point is that human beings are prone to patterned behavior. What kind of behavior are spirit-led (am I dreaming here?) christians “prone to”?
And here’s the response that my emotions immediately concocted:
Your comments about MBTI vs. spirit-led life made me smile a bit, because it reminded me of a conversation I had with a very extraverted friend who couldn’t really grasp what I was explaining about being an introvert. She listened, a bit incredulously to my explanation, and at the end was like, “Well, that’s all fine and good, but doesn’t Jesus make any difference in your life? What’s it mean for Him to transform you?” I almost laughed right then, because I realized that the things I was saying that I thought were good, she was seeing as faults–perhaps she thought I was giving her insight into what was wrong with me! And so, was all that explanation just excusing my faults instead of letting Jesus transform me? I told her, “Well, I think it means I’ll look more like Him, but probably NOT more like you :)”
Of course there are weaknesses and sin tendencies I’m especially prone to with my personality type (I don’t say that prescriptively; it is admittedly stereotypical and descriptive). However, Jesus doesn’t make me less like how He made me the first time when He formed me, when He is now conforming me into His image. He makes me more like Him, changes my heart attitudes, etc. But perhaps, for example, I’m called to reflect the serious side of His image more completely while another friend reflects the social side of Him more clearly.
I think I’m oversimplifying things here. But, I notice that when people try to change me (or when pastors work to bring conviction), they are often addressing typical personality traits (like “your seriousness isn’t reflecting the joy of the Lord” etc). When God convicts me and works to bring about change, it’s usually less a personality issue and more a direct sin thing.
I do appreciate and enjoy the dialogue that has been stirred up by Wayne’s post.