Different and the Same?

Your adornment must not be merely the external—braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or putting on apparel; but it should 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 NASB)

I came across this verse today and had an idea for a post. (No, I’m not going to have a cliché discussion about the importance of being beautiful on the inside. I’m sure you’ve heard that lecture many a time.)

Instead, I want to focus on verse 4 of this text. Introverts, like myself, love this verse because we obey it naturally.

Or do we?

We claim that we already obey the command to let our adornment 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” (verse 4). But this verse isn’t about introverts and extroverts. It’s about how we choose to behave, regardless of the personality God has given us.

I could give many examples of women who demonstrated a gentle and quiet spirit, like Ruth, Elizabeth, and Mary. (And I could give examples of women who demonstrated a loud and boisterous spirit like Potiphar’s wife, Jezebel, and the Proverbs 7 woman). But you probably already know how these women acted. You know about Ruth’s loyalty, Elizabeth’s righteousness, and Mary’s submission. You’ve heard about Potiphar’s boisterous wife, Jezebel’s wicked heart, and the rebellious spirit of the Proverbs 7 woman.

Basically, your personality does not determine how you will behave…but it can influence your behavior.

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 her tongue, conceal a juicy secret, and keep her anger contained; but she’s definitely capable of having a loud, boisterous spirit—even in her reserved fashion. Introverts can still blurt out a secret, gossip about a friend, or say something inappropriate. I think I’m just trying to say that different personalities have their own issues but also the same issues.

Regardless of our personality types, we have common struggles—and a common Savior. 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 her friends, but an introvert has trouble being friendly.

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 NASB)

Now, of course, this passage is talking about spiritual gifts, but it can also be applied to personalities, too. Every Christian has the same powerful Holy Spirit inside of him, so whether he is an extrovert who struggles with gossip or an introvert who struggles with deceit, we all have the power to stop because we all have the same powerful Spirit inside of us.

Embrace your personality because you can’t change it, and remember that even a bubbly extrovert can understand the issues of a quiet introvert. We’re all in this together.

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