I love how all-encompassing — how applicable — the Bible is. It hits everyone, every personality type, every gift mix, every Enneagram number, every spiritual gift test result, every past, every experience.
Have you ever gotten the impression that in order to be a mature Christian — a REAL one — you have to have a certain personality type? I remember as a kid thinking that only really organized people — people that kept perfect records of Bible reading and cleaning their room — were the mature believers. Weird, I know.
I’ve had people tell me that they questioned whether they were really saved because they didn’t get emotional during worship songs.
One guy told me that he had a hard time staying focused whenever he read the Bible alone, so he thought that meant he must not really be a Christian.
We’ve all got our weird things, right? The good news is that following Christ is not reserved for a specific personality type. It’s all-encompassing, because Jesus is all-encompassing.
Take Jesus’ response to the question about what is the greatest commandment.
Mark 12:29-30 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” NIV
First off, Jesus starts with God Himself. “Listen up Israel: God ALONE is God.”
Then, He lists four different ways to love God. Of course, we should all strive to grow in each area, but I believe that God wired us all differently, and each of us has different ways of expressing and receiving love, as well as our own unique problem areas.
“Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” Another way to put it is: Love God with all your talk, all your feelings, all your thinking, and all your work. God shaped you to primarily be a talker, feeler, thinker or doer.
Let’s run through these four different personality types really quickly:
1 - “With all your heart” = talkers.
What you say is always connected to your heart. Jesus said in Matthew 12:34, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Heart people can’t keep it all in. They've got to express themselves. They love to tell stories, to sit and converse, to be immersed in conversation. They’re our best communicators, our teachers, counselors, coaches, comedians.
Jesus tells the talkers: love Him with how you talk! Speak of His goodness to others, tell stories of His grace in your life, speak often of His Good News. God also warns the talkers to not just talk, but ACT. Proverbs 14:23 says, “Hard work is worthwhile, but empty talk will make you poor.”
2 - “With all your soul” = feelers.
David is constantly telling his soul to wake up. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” (Psalm 103:1) Or in Psalm 43:5, when he pleads “Why are you cast down, O my soul?”
Feelers wear their emotions on their sleeves. They are usually the most expressive during worship, the quickest to get weepy during a sermon, the ones who are our most passionate and committed. Feelers can be the most moving and convincing.
God wants the feeler to guide his/her feelings toward Him! Funnel your soul toward the goodness of the Gospel. And He warns the feeler to master their emotions, not the other way around. David tells his soul “Why are you so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God!” (Psalm 43:2b)
3 - “With all your mind” = thinkers.
Thinkers love God with their minds. They are our scholars, our theologians, our professors. They can sit and ponder about the Word of God for hours on end. Thinkers love Bible study. Psalm 119:97 says, “How I love your law! I think about it all day long.”
Thank God for thinkers! We need them because life is complex, and so are the deep questions of the universe: Why am I here? What is my purpose? Where are we headed? What does God want to tell us? We need thinkers to help us answer these questions.
God warns the thinker in Proverbs 3:7 “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.” We know that “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”(1 Cor. 8:1) The thinker needs to be mindful of growing in love too.
4 - “With all your strength” = doers.
Doers love God with their strength. They are the most energetic among us: the accomplishers, the achievers, the workers, the people who make things happen, and keep us moving.
Thank God for doers! Nothing would get done without them. While the talker asks “What?” and the thinker asks “Why?”, the doer asks “How?” How will we do this? What practical steps can we take to get this moving? Why are we all still sitting around, there’s work to do!
Doers love God in this way, by funneling their energy toward building God’s Kingdom. God also warns the doer, like in Psalm 127:2, “It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.” (NLT) Don’t DO so much that you forget to BE.
We can obviously go on for hours about the different personality types, and most of us are blends of multiple types at the same time. But regardless of our specific personality, Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is to LOVE HIM, and He takes the pressure off by saying, in essence: “Love me how I wired you!”
Of course, we are to grow in the other areas too, and be cautious of our weaknesses. But God designed you to be you. Love Him with all you got!