Are You A Number Or A Name?

A few days ago I read this in my devotional, Live in Grace, Walk in Love: A 365-Day Journey by Bob Goff, and it gave the words to a sentiment that I have had for awhile.

Loving People The Way Jesus Did Will Take Leaps, Not Steps

You Still Lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. – Luke 18:22

Confession: I’m a little ambivalent about personality tests. I don’t mean the kind that tell you if you’re a Griffyndor or a Slytherin or what your rapper name would be. At the time I was writing this devotional, one test called the Enneagram was all the rage. People can’t tell if it’s a cult or something. People are always asking me what “my number” is or they’re telling me what my number is, they’re just sure of it. While I’m not against a little self-understanding, knowing more about yourself should never head-fake you into thinking you’ve become more like Jesus.

A test might help you take steps toward a healthier and more well-balanced life. But loving people the way Jesus did will take leaps, not steps.

Jesus said to take all our time, our energy, our dreams, and our things and to handle them like gifts for others to unwrap. He invited us into a selfless way of life that changes where we live, how we live, and who we love. Loving like Jesus means having a spirit of welcome for everyone – even the people who talk too loud and drink straight from the carton in our fridge. It means our first response is yes when we’re asked to help someone move on a Saturday morning.

I think if Jesus came up with a personality test, it would ask all about how we love sacrificially. And if we’re looking for something to improve or a way to grow, Jesus’ life is the only test we need.

What feels uncomfortable inside you as you ponder going all in with Jesus?

I have never been much into personality tests; there was a season where we went through a few of them to better understand each other. In some ways they were helpful, and in others not so much. I didn’t want to be labeled or to label others. I wanted and still want to be more like my Creator. And in my mind the only way to get there was just to spend more time with Him. To sit with Him and let Him tell me who I am. To let Him give me understanding on the qualities He gave me that tend to aggravate others. And better yet, to let Him refine those qualities in me. 

Often I have run into people who’s number or type become their identity, a license to stay they way they are or justify all the the things that some test identified in them. But it doesn’t end there. Personality test have their place and can be useful but in no way are they definitive of who we are. 

Romans 8:29-30 (MSG) says, “God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.”

In no way have I fully or even partially grasped this. I am sure some days when I go and sit with my Creator, that He chuckles and shakes His head saying, “Oh, Bethany, Dear one…” One thing I know, that even on the days that I don’t “get it right”, He loves me. And He gives me the grace and the chance to try it again – to love like He does.

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