Who Are You? How to Take off Your Masks and Live with Integrity in Your Godly Identity

How many versions of you are there? Are you a different person behind the wheel of your car than you are when speaking to your grandmother? Do you play one part at work and another part with friends on the weekend? Do you hide parts of yourself or change the way you present yourself based on circumstances?

We all do this. To a certain extent, it’s useful to make your behavior fit the context. You don’t want to wear the same clothes, for example, to grub out a stump in the backyard as to attend a wedding. But when the change is more extreme — polite to a date but angry and vindictive when driving in traffic — it can be a problem.

Integrity comes form the Latin word integer, meaning something whole and complete in itself. If you are a person with integrity then there is only one version of you (“The True Meaning of Integrity” by So-Young Kang). You act with honesty and live by strong moral principles whether or not someone is watching. People with integrity apologize when they are wrong or cause inconvenience, they refuse to act viciously even when fighting, and they give others the benefit of the doubt (“7 Signs of People With Integrity” by Seth Meyers).

It’s very difficult to live with complete wholeness and consistency. And it’s well-nigh impossible to do so if you don’t know who you are and what you believe. As the Biblical writer James said, “he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed” (James 1:6, WEB). We need an anchor for our identity if we’re to live with integrity. Read more

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I Have Become All Things To All People: ENFJ Christians

Today’s post about ENFJ Christians is the sixth in a series talking with Christians of different personality types. I started this series because discussing faith with with different personality types revealed that they don’t all feel equally valued and understood in Christian churches. This is particularly true, in my experience, for Intuitive types (which make up about 30% of the population as a whole). If Christianity is a faith meant for all people (and I believe it is), then why aren’t we doing a better job of connecting with all personality types?

Our walks with God don’t all look the same. We’re influenced by our backgrounds, variations in beliefs, and individual personalities. And even though the goal is for us all to become “like God,” that doesn’t mean we become indistinguishable from each other. God created great variety in people and I believe He did that for a reason. So let’s spend today’s post hearing from and talking about the unique perspectives of ENFJ Christians.

Identifying With Bible Characters

Three of the six ENFJs I talked with for this post identified David as a Bible character they relate to, at least in part. They identify with his heart, his struggles, his expressive worship, and his depth of feeling. One ENFJ named Nathan qualified this choice by saying, “I relate to the fact that David gets incredibly emotional about relational issues in his life, but not so much his impulsive daring.”

Other characters ENFJs mentioned relating to include the Apostle Paul, who Heather described as “a man of great conviction, and grace and grit” with the ability to adapt his leadership style to meet others’ needs (e.g. “I have become all things to all men, that I might save some,” 1 Cor. 9:22). Gwyneth chose Jesus as the most relatable Bible person for her because “His peaceful ways were misunderstood as rebellious” and “He had empathy for every person.” Nathan mentioned, “Daniel in that he’s kind of an academic/thinker type who is trying to find his way in relation to the society around him.” Kait identified her favorite book of the Bible as Ecclesiastes and said the stories of “Ruth and Joseph mean a lot to me, and Peter/Thomas are the disciples I feel I can understand where they are coming from.”

An anonymous contributor wrote that she identified “with Mary Magdalene, Tamar, Martha, and the woman who was healed from a flow of blood.” All these women “loved with every piece of their hearts, lived with courage, were honest about who they were and what had happened to them, and met each day with an intelligent awareness.” She also identifies with Jesus’ mother Mary, particularly how she “stored these things up and pondered them in her heart.” Anonymous wrote, “I have this drive to understand with my whole being, not just intellectually – but with my heart and soul. I think she might have been able to relate.” I suspect many other ENFJs will be able to relate as well.I Have Become All Things To All People: ENFJ Christians | LikeAnAnchor.com

Using Their Gifts

All the ENFJs I talked with have found ways to use their gifts and found support for those gifts within their churches. However, most also mentioned that there were aspects of their personality and/or their gifts that they were not encouraged to use.

All six ENFJ contributors to this article mentioned gifts involving public speaking and/or leading. They give messages, play music, lead worship, and dance. But Kait mentioned these gifts cause some inner conflict “due to the complex nature of the Bible’s stance on female leadership.” Corbin talked about the fact that his musical gifts are appreciated, but only if he stays within a certain type of music. ENFJs can fit the roles their churches offer, but they’re not always 100% comfortable with the opportunities they’re given.

On the whole, though, ENFJs tend to find ways to use their Harmony-focused Extroverted Feeling side to find a niche for themselves. Nathan shared that, in his experience, the solution to feeling like your gifts aren’t well-received “is controlling how you manifest that aspect of yourself. Church might not be perfect at accepting all aspects of individuals, but I think you can always find a niche for your skills where people won’t question it.”

Part of this is going to depend on individual church groups. My anonymous contributor talked about how hard it is for her to use her “gift for making others feel comfortable and comforting them when they are hurting” while “in a formal church setting where you attend a service and then go home.” But Heather said, “The church loves my ability to encourage others and build rapport,” and Kait said. “My ability to empathize with and forgive others, to be social, to create community is really appreciated.”

From the outside it probably looks like most ENFJs in the church are engaged and serving, and happy to do so. While that is true, ENFJs can also feel frustrated when their gifts for emotional connection and intuitive reasoning are not appreciated.I Have Become All Things To All People: ENFJ Christians | LikeAnAnchor.com

How Their Minds Work

One thing that frustrates some ENFJs, like many other Intuitive Christians, is when their gifts are viewed with suspicion by sensing-dominant groups. Heather wrote, “Being an intuitive type within the church is REALLY difficult. I use introverted intuition, I tend to see many perspectives.” This ability helps her “speak across denominational lines,” pick up on motives and agendas, read people, and be more “effective in ministry.” She goes on to say, “However, I don’t know how to speak about how my mind works in church. The church either sees me as a ‘prophet’ or that I’m into something like witchcraft. … My wiring seems to coincide with some of my spiritual gifts, so it can get weird. It’s sometimes hard to know what is my intuition and when is the Holy Spirit speaking.”

The perspectives issue also came up for several other ENFJs, who struggle with people who want them to see things in black-and-white terms. Nathan shared, “in some cases I find myself wanting to be too accepting or compromising. I’d like to keep everyone happy and feeling good about themselves, and I like to relate to people. This leads me into trouble sometimes because I’ll care less about if someone is specifically following God law than I should.” Heather adds, “I see a lot of nuance … I focus on the big picture. I see trends in the church, and have the tendency to see where these trends will lead. I desperately want to ask hard questions that tend to make sensors uncomfortable. My questions are often seen as a lack of faith, and not as a way to deepen my faith. I am extremely visionary and future oriented.”

Another things that both Corbin and Nathan mentioned is that the church doesn’t seem to value “emotionally focused men” (to use Nathan’s phrase). Corbin wrote, “I am told I feel to much/am too led by emotions. When I am feeling discouraged, I am told to ‘just pray more’ and everything should be fine, vs feeling and expressing the highs and lows in a raw and real way (like David).” This is a struggle many feeling-type men (especially FJ types) can identify with. Though men in the Bible express strong emotions, for the most part men in Western culture are not encouraged to do so even in the church. I Have Become All Things To All People: ENFJ Christians | LikeAnAnchor.com

Challenges For ENFJs

The topic of conforming too much to others’ standards also came up when I asked ENFJs about the biggest challenges they face as Christians. Kait said, “my challenges are always to not just believe what would make other people happy, but to know what it is that I believe because of what I believe, if that makes sense. ENFJs are natural chameleons, which can (for better or worse) get you praise in a church community for looking like what you’re supposed to. However, I believe God calls us to authenticity and vulnerability about our flaws and shortcomings. Not engaging in self protection though masquerade is a challenge for me.”

A couple of ENFJs mentioned intellectual challenges in their Christian walk. For Gwyneth, this means “Being stereotyped as ignorant or naive. Many on the secular side will try to debate me, not knowing that I was once on their side and know most of their arguments. And it seems to them that I don’t want to hear them, but I don’t see how I could go back to my old ways of thinking after being in His presence and learning so much.” For Nathan, the challenge lies in finding ways to handle intellectual arguments against his faith, “for example the challenges in aligning science with Christianity.” This point might surprise some people who see ENFJs as purely emotion-driven, but personal experience has taught me that many place a high value on being able to make sense of the things that they believe. It’s part of how their inferior Introverted Thinking process shows up in every-day life.

Other challenges that ENFJs mentioned include feeling like they don’t fit in or getting discouraged. Heather said, “I am acutely aware of how actions are perceived. I know how I need to dress and behave to reach the church and be effective in my call. However, that can be really stifling.” Corbin shared that he struggles with holding on to hope and finding encouragement. Anonymous said that it’s hard for her to talk about her faith because words don’t always come easily and her testimony is connected with some personal experiences that are difficult to share. To sum-up, while there are some challenges that more than one ENFJ experiences, their individual struggles are deeply personal.I Have Become All Things To All People: ENFJ Christians | LikeAnAnchor.com

Connecting With ENFJs

It should come as no surprise that ENFJs connect most readily with church teachings when there is a relational, emotional component. I hear this over and over from ENFJs I talk with both in-person and for this blog post. Here’s how four ENFJs described the types of teaching/preaching styles that connect with them best:

“Personal/relatable/conversational! I get way more out of a small group conversation than a sermon. But sermons that tell stories and make it personal captivate me.” — Corbin

“I enjoy deep one on one conversation or group facilitated discussion.” — Kait

“I cannot engage without a speaker who can’t demonstrate that they care about God and that their life is more full because of their relationship with God. … I like interactive and discussion based learning far more than sermon/lecture learning.” — Nathan

“I like any teaching and preaching that is deep. I enjoy being encouraged to engage with God on a relational level. I like preaching that is both intellectual and emotional. (Not an easy find.) I love to have small group discussions with other open-minded people because I like to process in a group and ask questions.” — Heather

If churches are trying to engage ENFJs, then creating opportunities for believers to meet in small groups is an essential part of that. For more formal teachings, ENFJs connect best when the person teaching is engaged on a personal level. They don’t just want feel-good messages, though. As Heather mentioned, they prefer preaching “that is both intellectual and emotional.” Kait also said, “I love the theories and underpinnings and the mysticism behind what we learn.” This is also a topic Gwyneth brought up, saying, “I like the practical application of abstract topics, if that makes sense. … I really enjoy a podcast called Moral Revolution. It teaches on sex, love and marriage, but in a realistic way.” ENFJs want their minds and hearts engaged in a way that encourages them to take real-world action.

Speaking of taking action, my anonymous contributor pointed out that it is very important when trying to reach ENFJs that your actions match your words. All FJ types read people well and are quick to pick up on a disconnect between what someone says and how they actually live their lives. If you’re trying to connect with ENFJs while preaching the gospel, make sure that you practice what you preach and present yourself in an authentic way.

In addition, ENFJs place a high value on teachings that can explain why the Bible and God’s way of life matter. ENFJs don’t shy away from asking hard questions and if they’re seeking truth in a Christian setting they want to see that it’s okay to wrestle with tough issues and discuss different ideas. Heather encouraged those trying to reach ENFJs to see “the nuances of scripture” and address hard questions. Gwyneth also said, “being able to know your stuff and why you believe would help minister to people like me.” Nathan added, “Focus on how God’s way benefits people and makes life abundant. For example, I’ll be lost in a discussion of judgment without context for why it is good for us that God is performing judgment.”

I Have Become All Things To All People: ENFJ Christians | LikeAnAnchor.com

Why They Believe

For this final section of the posts in this series, I like to let the people I talked with explain in their own words why they believe this faith is the right one. Here’s what my six contributors said:

  • “I am a Christian because of Jesus. This question can be hard to answer for me, because the answer runs at least in part along the lines of ‘I just know.’ But if I think about it a long time, I realize that my faith is largely due to those Christian people who have stuck by me. They are incredible, and filled with a genuine love and empathy for others (including me) that still floors me. I don’t understand it, but it doesn’t change. And as my relationship with Jesus grows more intimate, I feel a hope and peace that I would have never considered possible, and am finding that my heart and spirit are deepening and strengthening. I used to believe that all the pain would go away – nope. If anything I feel everything more vividly. But that also means that my heart is growing more and more loving than it has been. … I believe this faith is the right one also because it is mysterious. I don’t have it all figured out, and that is a good thing. If I could figure it out, then that means my mind would be bigger than what I believe in. That is most certainly not the case.” — Anonymous
  • “Though I don’t always ‘feel’ God, I know there is no other explanation for life and the universe, and no other system that can work well and offer an abundant life like the laws of God.” — Corbin
  • “I believe in Christ and God and defend my faith because the existence and resurrection of our Savior historically, the way I’ve felt the Spirit in my life emotionally, and because no matter how much inflammatory literature I read from contradicting backgrounds, I’ve always been able to explain to myself why it was insufficient intellectually.” — Kait
  • “I have looked at and tried many things. This is the only one that has made logical sense to me and I have also felt Him and His Spirit. No one can convince me that the transformation and peace I’ve had and felt isn’t real.” — Gwyneth

I Have Become All Things To All People: ENFJ Christians | LikeAnAnchor.com

  • “The older I become the more rational I have become and faith isn’t as easy. It always comes back to Jesus for me. His life, his witness. The way he touched and changed lives. One writer stated that Jesus was either the greatest liar that ever lived, or that he was exactly who he says he is. The disciples were completely convinced of Jesus as God and Man. At the end of the day it has to be about Christ. He is truly the anchor for the soul in a time of chaos and confusion. He is a leader worth emulating and worth dying for. He is the hope of the world, a light in a dark place, he is love. There is no one else like him in the history of the world. His life was love and grace personified. Christianity is the only religion that teaches salvation by grace and forgiveness, and not through works. I still go to church because I believe in Christ and he told me to do it, whether I fit or don’t. ” — Heather
  • “All religion is essentially an attempt to answer two fundamental questions, (1) what is the best/right way to live life and (2) how did existence come to be and in what way does our personal existence relate to the broader world more broadly (i.e. what is the universe and do we matter within it and does life continue past our current experience). Science is essentially a system for providing a reason behind our beliefs and an understanding of the world based on evidence that is objective. Unfortunately the scope of science isn’t able to cover everything we need it to in life. For example, I cannot wait upon a systematic study to tell me who to marry. In the same way, science is not able to offer a definitive explanation of how to live or a complete understanding of existence. Because of this, you cannot rely on science and have to figure out what the most likely explanation for your 2 big questions is. Because of the order in the universe, the experiences people have (personal transcendence, psychedelic and unusual conscious experiences, etc), and the fact that intelligent is actually a very parsimonious theory (it is simple and explains everything, even though you can’t test it) I believe that there is a God. Once you believe that, you can assume that the creator probably is involved throughout existence and has certain ways in which He would expect you to act. This brings you to religion and simultaneously generates a problem — there are lots of religions and logically they cannot all be correct. I follow my particular branch of Christianity because if you believe the Bible is true, then my sect follows it most accurately. The problem is bridging the gap between believing in God and knowing which one to believe in. I was raised Christian, so I cannot say that wasn’t an influence, but I follow Christianity for a few reasons — (1) it ‘feels’ right in context of personal spiritual experience and emotions, (2) it offers a view of the world that makes sense within most of its doctrine, (3) its proscriptions for how to live life are effective principles for life.” — Nathan

I Have Become All Things To All People: ENFJ Christians | LikeAnAnchor.com

Your turn! If you want to share your Christian ENFJ story or talk about ENFJs in the churches, comment below. You can also check out the other posts in this series here:

If you’re a different personality type looking to contribute an upcoming blog post in this series contact me or head over to the original post. I’d love to feature you! Please note: unless you tell me otherwise, I’ll assume that by getting in touch you agree I can quote you directly and credit you by first name (or screen name) and Myers-Briggs type in future projects.


Hey everyone! I’m releasing the second edition of The INFJ Handbook next week! Click here to get a copy in ebook (preorder now) or paperback format (available after release).

The Joy Of The Lord

I think most of us have learned there are multiple words for love in the Greek language. With seven words devoted to this concept, we assume it must be important. But did you know something similar is going on with the word “joy”?

In the New Testament the primary Greek word for joy is chara or its root chario. The Greek parts of the Bible also use agalliao, euphrosure, and (more rarely) skirtao and apolausis. Hebrew has even more words for joy. The primary one is samach and its close relatives simcha and sameach. Other words for joy include chadah, sus, alats, giyl, and alaz. The words for “shout” like ranan and rua also carry a joyful meaning in certain contexts. That adds up to more than a dozen words in the Bible to describe joy!

Clearly, joy is an important concept for Biblical writers and for the cultures they lived in. This type of joy isn’t just a happy feeling, though. It’s a state of being that we can have as a result of being in relationship with God. As a fruit of the spirit, joy is present in all spirit-led Christians. This joy can be bubbly, enthusiastic, and happy (and often is), but it can also be a quiet, enduring outlook that flourishes inside us even when we don’t feel outwardly merry.

Joy Is More Than Happiness

To those in less than pleasant circumstances, commands to rejoice (like Deut. 26:11: 1 Thes 5:16) often feel insensitive. “If you knew what I was going through,” we might say, “you wouldn’t tell me to feel happy.” Nevertheless, joy is something God expects and commands from His people.

It’s a similar situation as what happens with love. God is love, and He commands us to love others even when it doesn’t make sense from a human perspective. Biblical love is also something more than our modern concept of warm feelings toward someone. It’s much deeper. In much the same way, joy goes deeper than feelings of happiness. Read more

How Do I Convince People They’re Wrong and God Is Right?

The world seems like it’s going crazy. Looking around at what’s going on brings to mind Bible verses like “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” and “there is no fear of God before his eyes” (Jud. 17:6; Ps. 36:1). Not only do people reject God, but they reject the entire idea of absolute morality as well, opting for a subjective, situational version that can change moment-to-moment and person-to-person.

In the midst of this, many Christians want to fight for and defend the truth of our faith. We want to show the world they’re wrong and prove that God is right. We think that to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered,” we need to offer logical, scientifically supported, convincing arguments to counter the lies running rampant in our culture.

But I don’t think we’re going to convince many people that God’s word is the truth (rather than just one of many truths) by arguing with them. There’s definitely a place for apologetics, and people with the knowledge and expertise to enter debates and stand up for truth are invaluable. In general, though, I question whether telling people how wrong they are and what they need to change is a good first step for introducing them to the faith.

If we start out by lecturing people about how much God hates their sin or how wrong they are about ideas they hold dear, why would they react any way other than defensively? And if they don’t acknowledge God as real yet, why would we expect them to care what we say He wants them to do?

Keeping Your Audience In Mind

God’s truth doesn’t change with the times. But those who are wise keep their audiences in mind when they speak the truth. When Paul spoke to Jews in Antioch, he knew his already religious audience could best be reached by using scriptures to prove Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah (Acts 13:14-41). When he preached to people in Athens without any Biblical background, however, he started by talking about who God is and why we should care. He even quoted one of their own philosophers as part of his argument (Acts 17:18-31). Tailoring the message to fit his audience was a deliberate, conscious choice that Paul made. Read more

Fighting For Truth Within God’s House

Dear friends, although I was making every effort to write to you concerning our common salvation, I considered it a necessity to write to you to encourage you to contend for the faith delivered once and for all to the saints. (Jude 1:3, LEB)

Way back in the first century, Jude had planned to write fellow believers concerning their common salvation. However, he had to change the topic because “certain men have slipped in stealthily” (v. 4) to spread destructive heresies.

When we read an instruction to “contend for the faith,” we typically think of preaching to the world and fighting for God’s truth in an ungodly society. But Jude is talking about the need to do this inside the church. And if they were dealing with problems like this back in the first century, you can be sure we’ll be facing them today as well.

A List of Wickedness

Jude said that we need to fight for the faith even inside the church because of ungodly people who sneaked in. As the letter unfolds, he explains in detail what sort of things these people were doing. It’s a long list, but I think it’s an important one to look at in detail. Read more

Am I Living A Flesh Life Or A Spirit Life?

Do you desire the same things God desires? That’s one of the questions asked in a new book I’m reading called What Does Your Soul Love? It’s written by Alan and Gem Fadling, and it’ll be available for purchase September 17th. I’m about halfway through right now and it’s given me quite a bit to think about. One thing I really like is the way they explain how our resistance to living a godly way of life is connected to Paul’s discussion of flesh versus spirit.

Our desires lie at the root of why we act the way we do. But even when we line-up the things we say we want with the things God wants, we might still find ourselves in the same position Paul was in his letter to Rome. He said he delights “in God’s law after the inward person,” but still finds “the good which I desire, I don’t do; but the evil which I don’t desire, that I practice” (Rom. 7:14-25). When we try to follow God, we encounter resistance from within ourselves as well as from without.

The resistance from outside is usually easier to identify and counter, at least to a certain extent. But what about the resistance inside? What can we do about that?

What Is “The Flesh”?

Just a couple weeks ago, I shared a 2-part post about Galatians. It’s on my mind again now since that letter seems particularly relevant to today’s discussion. If we’re going to talk about how our flesh resists living in the spirit, the last two chapters of Galatians are crucial. But first, let’s clear up a potential misunderstanding.

“The flesh here is not the physical body, but a way of life we’ve grown used to living in a world that does not recognize the reality of God and his kingdom. It is a dynamic within whereby we grab for what we need, not trusting (or knowing of) God’s generosity to provide. It is an ‘I can do it myself’ approach to living that presumes the absence of the loving God” — Alan and Gem Fadling

I’d also add that “flesh” includes an attitude of “I can decide right and wrong for myself” that presumes to know better than God or to think that He doesn’t really care. When we look at Paul’s description of the flesh, it includes following desires and taking actions that God has said are wrong. To keep doing those things when we should be walking in the spirit is to disregard our Creator and Savior’s wishes (Gal. 5:16-21). Read more