Have you ever taken a personality test? What about a spiritual gifts test? Or maybe you’ve completed a StrengthsFinder Test or an Enneagram test. I’ve done them all. I’ve completed each of them so many times that I can tell you one thing is for certain.
None of these tests holds the answers you are longing for.
When I was new in the Lord, I remember knowing the things I believed that He had gifted me in. I felt called to worship using music. I was already writing songs, stories, and poetry. I was creating art and felt a deep sense of satisfaction when I did any of these things. The Lord was giving me dreams and visions and I sensed that there was a prophetic component to my calling as well. I had a heart of compassion toward those who had been trafficked and wanted to be part of freeing them and restoring them.
Then I got involved in church leadership, worked for Christian ministries, and eventually ended up taking personality and spiritual gifts tests. These tests were supposed to help me understand my gifts and strengths better so that I could more effectively minister and serve the Lord. But instead, they forced me into roles that I felt neither gifted nor called to. They were simply things I already had experience doing. Let me reiterate that these tests look to your past experiences to determine who you are and to dictate your future. They base their questions on what you have done. And while I understand the intent of ministries and churches who use these tests, I think they do their congregation and employees a disservice when they use them.
Personality and Spiritual Gifts Tests Use Worldly Standards
These tests serve to label and categorize people based on worldly standards. It even tries to break down the gift of God into neat little categories. You have the gift of hospitality, so you get to be a greeter. You can play a musical instrument so therefore you must be called to worship. You’ve served in lots of areas, so you must have the gift of service. Oh, and your job is secretary, so you must have the gift of administration. You’re good at speaking, so your gifting is pastoral. You see how easy it easy to label and categorize people based on some ability or skill they already have?
Personality Tests Keep People Trapped in Negative Behaviors
Additionally, personality tests keep people trapped in negative patterns of behavior. They use the results of their personality tests to justify why they treat people poorly or behave in ungodly ways. I remember taking the DISC test with my husband, and all it did was divide us further. His results were opposite of mine, and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy when we would fight in our marriage.
We were both guilty of says things and thinking things like, “Well, that’s just my personality so you have to get over it.” Instead of it giving us a healthy understanding of the other person, we used our results as an excuse to not love each other the ways that God tells us too. That is one of the biggest dangers of these tests. I know we are not unique in how these tests impacted us.
Personality and Spiritual Gifts Tests Can Lead to Low Confidence
I remember feeling trapped by these labels. I couldn’t be a leader at work because my StrengthsFinder didn’t support my qualifications for these roles. I couldn’t try out for the worship team, because I was a children’s minister and had the gift of serving, not the other things on the list that could’ve “qualified” me for a different role. I couldn’t share the message the Lord put in my heart because I wasn’t a pastor. I felt like these labels kept me from being able to confidently speak what the Lord said. It kept me from being confident and stepping out into new areas. Instead, I spent years trying to live up to the expectations of others that these tests; personality, spiritual, and otherwise; placed on me. When in my spirit and my heart, I KNEW what God had spoken over me.
God Has Been Renewing My Mind and Perspective on the Matter
In the past few months, I have renounced the results of these tests and the ways that they shackled me. I have rebuked the curses that the results bound me up with. Have you read the “negative side” of your personality tests? Have you noticed that NONE of them align with the word of God? You are consuming and taking in what someone besides your Creator, the God of the universe intended has spoken. You are not anxious. You are not controlling. These are curses from the enemy. As believers, we must see them for what they are.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”Isaiah 43:19
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”Ezekiel 36:26
I’ve never felt freer in stepping out into the call of God on my life than I do right now. By removing the shackles that these tests put on me, I realized that the ONLY one who can tell me who I am is the Lord. The only one who can gift me, is God Himself.
Spiritual gifts are not about what I do, but about what God does through me.
This is why spiritual gifts tests are ineffective tools for determining the ways people can serve in the church and in the body of Christ. They look at man instead of at the Lord. At any time, if I am a willing vessel, He can use me to heal the sick, to cast out demons, to speak prophetically, to minister to someone’s needs, and so much more. Paul even said in his letters to the Corinthians to earnestly desire all the gifts.
By administering spiritual gifts tests are you not doing the opposite of what Paul exhorted the early church to do? Instead of teaching people about the different gifts and some of the ways that they operate in our modern world, people are boiled down to a handful of gifts that “they have”, and they are only encouraged to operate in those.
How are we to be effective witnesses if we don’t know how to operate in all the gifts should the Lord desire to use us in them? How are we to be a light in the earth if we never step out to pray for people or intercede for our own families because we think we don’t have the gifts of intercession or of healing? These gifts are all readily available to believers because they have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of them.
Cast off the shackles and desire all the gifts. Start learning how to operate in the ones you’ve never used before. Go deeper in your relationship with the Lord and find out in the secret places with Him who you are and be ready to be used by Him however HE chooses.
These Tests Are Rooted in Man’s Ways
What about the roots of these tests? Did you know that many of these tests are rooted in either psychology which is about the study of man or in demonic, occultic, and new age practices? The Enneagram for instance is very popular right now, especially in the mom business world and in the church. The creator of this test admitted to using occultic means to come up with the test.
In this test you answer a series of questions intended to better help you understand who you are. You are seeking answers about your identity in something other than the Lord. This is dangerous territory. And while this perspective might seem extreme, ask yourself whether you would seek answers from a medium or from a fortune teller. If your answer is emphatically “NO!”, then ask yourself why you would seek answers about your identity from a test that was developed from the same kind of people.
People who dabble in the dark arts and new age practices consulted their spirits to come up with this test. The bible implores us to test the spirits to determine if they come from the Lord or not. And when you compare the spirits behind this test to the spirit of the living God, it is revealing that it does not come from the Lord.
As believers, why would we consult man to determine our gifts, callings, and leanings? In fact we are told not to be shaped by the standards of the world.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”Romans 12:2
If you’re a church leader, seek the Lord on the matter. Just because you have done these tests and have administered them for years doesn’t mean you can’t change what you do in the future. Teach about all the gifts. Teach how different people use the gifts differently. Teach people to pursue their relationship with the Lord. Pray with the members of your congregation that the Lord would give THEM wisdom to learn who they are in Christ. Pray that God would renew the minds of the people in the body of Christ. And be humble. Be willing to repent if you are guilty of pigeonholing the members of the church under your care. Be willing to see them how the Lord sees them. And be willing to allow them to operate in all the gifts.
We need a strong body of Christ in the season we are in. People need what you have inside of you. As believers, you are carriers of the greatest gift of all, and that gift is the Lord Jesus Himself. He came to this earth to die for your sins, was resurrected, and now offers salvation freely to all who would say yes. That gift is the most important gift. Share it with everyone.