Introverts verses Extroverts
Which personality can best serve God?
I came across these verses today and decided that they were worth discussing.
Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3:3-4)
Introverts (myself included) can love these verses for the wrong reason. Introverts tend to believe that they obey it naturally, especially the ‘gentle and quite spirit’ bit.
But do they?
God cares about the inside
God has used both introverts and extroverts throughout the Bible. I could give many biblical examples of people who demonstrated a gentle and quiet spirit, like Ruth, Jonathan, and Mary. Examples of people who demonstrated a loud and boisterous spirit are people like Jezebel, Samson, and the woman of Proverbs 7. But you probably already know how these people acted. You know about Ruth’s sacrificial love, Jonathan’s loyalty, and Mary’s submission. You’ve heard about Jezebel’s wicked heart, Samson’s pride, and the rebellious spirit of the Proverbs 7 woman.
Introverts claim to naturally obey the command of 1 Peter 3:3-4, as they tend to more ‘gentle’ and ‘quiet’ in character already. But these verses aren’t commending the superior qualities of introverts and neither is it saying that we all have to be quiet extroverts. Regardless of the personality that God has given you, 1 Peter 3:3-4 encourages qualities of humility and modesty. Essentially, God cares about the inside and not the outside.
The challenges of being a Christian introvert or extrovert
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, your personality doesn’t determine how you will behave… but it can still influence your behaviour. Introverts have a tendency to conceal information that needs to be shared, not speak up about important things (like our faith), and hide instead of reach out to others. We would rather listen to gossip than spread it, observe injustice instead of interfere, and avoid conflict rather than confront it (or maybe that’s just me…)
It’s easier for an introvert to hold his or her tongue, conceal a juicy secret, and keep quiet even when angry; but he or she is definitely capable of having a loud, boisterous spirit—even in his or her reserved fashion.
Introverts can still blurt out a secret, gossip about a friend, or say something inappropriate, and an extrovert can still ignore the lonely kids and hold back his or her faith
It’s easy to blame the introverts when the new guy at youth group still doesn’t have any friends, and it’s easy to blame the extroverts for being noisy during the sermon. But unfortunately, we’re all to blame. Extroverts and introverts are equally self-centered and fall into areas of sin.
Maybe an extrovert wrestles with sharing gossip, but an introvert wrestles with stopping it. Maybe an extrovert has trouble keeping secrets, but an introvert has trouble opening up with honesty. Maybe an extrovert has trouble listening to his or her friends, but an introvert has trouble being friendly.
Regardless of our personality types, we have common struggles—and a common Savior.
Make sure your heart is right before God
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
Now, of course, this passage is talking about spiritual gifts, but the same principles apply to our personalities. Every Christian has the same powerful Holy Spirit inside of him or her, so whether we are extroverts who struggle with gossip or introverts who struggle with deceit, we all have the power to stop because we all have the same mighty Spirit inside of us.
Sometimes I wish I was an extrovert so I could feel more comfortable in social situations, but if I was an extrovert, I would probably wish I was an introvert. Whether you love being with a big group of friends or just a couple besties, all of us can relate because we all serve the same God. God gave you a specific personality for a reason, so embrace it.