You may know that I’m a life coach and I use various personality assessments in my work. If you’re around me enough (or maybe just a little), you’ll hear me talk about CliftonStrengths or RightPath or my current fascination—the Enneagram—which I love and hate at the same time.
Some people think personality assessments are chiefly self-centered activities, driving us to sit around all day pondering ourselves, “Here’s what I think about me, what do you think about me?” And therefore, they should be avoided.
But I have a different opinion. I think all activities can be self-centered.
Even the act of helping people, which at first sounds nobly altruistic, can be done for self-centered motives, but we don’t throw out the act of helping others if we detect some selfishness. We continue helping others, but hopefully we learn, we grow, we change.
I use personality assessments because they lead to greater self-awareness, and I believe self-awareness can lead us to God. A hyped-up self is not the goal here, but a closer walk with God is.
The great church reformer John Calvin wrote: “Without knowledge of self, there is no knowledge of God.”
It may seem like a back door to God—going through self—but a back door is still a door, and if it leads to God, I’ll take it.
The prophet Isaiah cried, “I am a man of unclean lips.” The prophet Jeremiah confessed, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world.”
These are all statements of self-awareness, and they led the men who uttered them to be faithful in their mission from God.
Here are seven ways self-awareness can lead to God:
1. Knowing ourselves displays the Creator’s handiwork.
We see how intricately and wonderfully we have been made, not by chance or accident. We realize we were handcrafted by God himself. (Psalm 139).
2. Knowing ourselves affirms the image of God in us.
We see the qualities of God displayed in us, his very image in us as his creation. It may be his power, creativity, love, wisdom, or other qualities. (Genesis 1:26)
3. Knowing ourselves reveals that we have fallen short and need a Savior.
This is a reality check. We don’t do what God wants us to do. We have missed the mark. We need to be saved. (Romans 3:23)
4. Knowing ourselves helps us understand the work for which we were created.
God prepared good works for us in advance. When we see ourselves, we get ideas about what our work may be, in other words, our calling. (Ephesians 2:10)
5. Knowing ourselves leads us to depend on the Holy Spirit.
We see our shortcomings and ask the Holy Spirit for help. We notice we are being transformed in ways we can’t attain on our own. (2 Corinthians 4:16)
6. Knowing ourselves improves our love for others.
We learn how to love others better as we learn about ourselves. We realize not everyone receives love the same way we do or the way we seek to give it out, so we learn, change, grow. (John 13:34)
7. Knowing ourselves helps us to obey God.
When we discover the gifts we’ve been given, we can use those gifts to follow God. It is better to use the gifts we do have than try to use the gifts we don’t have. (John 14:15)
May your pursuits lead you to God, whether you go in the front door or the back.