The Enneagram and the Light of Jesus
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT?
The Enneagram is a tool for personal growth made up of 9 different, interconnected “types,” or numbers. The Enneagram is different from all major personality typing systems (i.e. Myers-Briggs, DiSC) in that it doesn’t explore what someone will do but why they do it. In the simplest -- the Enneagram helps us understand why people think, feel, and act the way they do.
The entire human population can be distilled into these 9 numbers. Think of them as 9 different colors, but with endless tints and shades beneath that color. For instance, if 7 is blue, it comes in cerulean and robin’s egg and navy and an infinite list of hues! This represents the endless ways we as people view the world -- none 2 exactly alike!
COOL, I’M IN! HOW DO I FIND MY NUMBER?
The most exciting, and sometimes nerve wracking, part of discovering the Enneagram is figuring out your number, or “typing yourself.” It’s very personal! Because the Enneagram is based on our motivations, not our actions, it is difficult to boil it down to a single conclusive test, like MBTI. However, there are several highly respected tests in the Enneagram community that will help you discern your possible numbers. (RHETI test, Your Enneagram Coach)
The best way to figure out your type is to read up on each number, specifically the core weakness, also known as the core passions or sin struggles. There will be several numbers you can rule out right away, as you’ll see that they are clearly not you. Then you’ll come across a description or a weakness that just makes you feel a bit squirmy. As if someone is reading your mail. Or knows the deep struggles of your heart. Don’t worry, this is good! You’ve likely found your number and we will walk through what that means and what it looks like to find Jesus in each of the types!
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR MY WALK WITH JESUS?
In my personal opinion, the Enneagram without the Gospel is just another run-of-the-mill, self-help tool. One that requires stiff-arming your way to interpersonal growth or you’re just out of luck! But alas, we are created in God’s image which means all 9 types are reflected IN HIM! Only Jesus can redeem the core weaknesses of our heart, only Jesus can bring about true heart change, and only Jesus can stir growth in us to be more like him. Hello sanctification!
WHAT DO I DO WITH IT NOW?
Ephesians 4:23 [ESV] says that, we are “to be made new in the attitude of [our] minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” When we’re equipped with a better understanding of ourselves, we are better prepared to live in the freedom that the gospel brings, the freedom of an intimate relationship with Jesus. Over the next year, we will explore each number in detail, how that number is reflected in Christ, and how the gospel speaks to our core fears and longings. We will use the Enneagram to better love others and Christ as we work to understand how we were made in His image.
WORDS OF CAUTION
First and foremost, the Enneagram does not replace the Bible as the one true, authoritative word of God. We will use the Enneagram in conjunction with the Bible to point us back to Jesus and who he has uniquely created us to be.
While figuring out your number is very exciting, you’ll innately want to know everyone’s number! Your best friend? Yes! Your boss? Heck yes! Your spouse? Most definitely! However, because this is such a personal journey, you are encouraged to avoid “typing” someone else. And because we aren’t mind readers, we’ll never fully be able to diagnose what someone’s internal motivations are. Similarly, enneagram experts caution against using the types as a weapon or an excuse for sin. For example, “you’re such a 2!” or “oh well, that’s just the way I act because I’m an 8…” The Enneagram is simply a tool and should be used as such. Through this series, we aim to reveal how the 9 types are all a reflection of Christ.
We recognize that some may feel uncomfortable with using the Enneagram and that is perfectly okay. That is a decision that you need to make and we will wholeheartedly support you either way. Additionally, nowhere in the Bible is the Enneagram mentioned, but we believe, like many other tools, it can still be used to provide healing, insight, and actionable steps towards sanctification. The Enneagram reveals to us our souls’ innermost desires and how those desires are only satisfied in Jesus. The Enneagram is just a mechanism to help us uncover the motivations we already have. Like any benign (neither good, nor bad) concept, the Enneagram can be used in unhealthy ways, like justifying behaviors, excusing sins, or becoming something we worship. However, we should always look to the Bible as the sole doctrine in our lives, pointing us to the gospel, and an intimate relationship with our Savior.
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