Gospel For Enneagram

NOW AVAILABLE

The Gospel For Peacemakers

A 40-Day Devotional for Supportive, Easygoing Mediators (Enneagram Type 9)

Book Series Update

I’m excited to publish devotionals for all 9 Enneagram types! The Type 3 (Achiever) & Type 9 (Peacemaker) books are published. The next books on deck are Type 4 (Individualist) & Type 6 (Loyalist). Subscribe to get updates before everyone else.

Sample Daily Devotions
from the devotional books

And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. – Genesis 1:3

The only way to be productive is to realize that you don’t have to be productive. – Matthew Perman

In Nine Lenses on the World: The Enneagram Perspective, Jerome Wagner humorously says that every Achiever secretly wants the following epitaph written on their tombstone: “She accomplished much in a short amount of time.” Achievers make it look easy, possessing an effortless hustle, a “power to produce,” that can amaze their friends, family, and co-workers. This God-given attribute is a reflection of the Divine’s own efficaciousness, the innate ability for God’s power to bring to pass whatever he desires.

This efficaciousness was on full display in the act of creation. With merely a word, light was spoken into existence, followed by the rest of creation—including human beings. The power of God’s word is a recurring theme in Scripture, such as when God told the prophet Isaiah: “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Achievers imitate God’s effectiveness in this way, often bringing about impressive results with seemingly very little effort. But this “power to produce” can easily turn self-centered. Like Adam and Eve, who took the fruit—hoping to achieve by their own effort what God was trying to offer freely—Achievers can use their gifts in order to draw attention to themselves: taking for themselves what has already been offered for the life of the world. The result is always disastrous.

When you buy into the Enemy’s lie that deferring to God will somehow rob you of the acceptance you seekthe boundaries of what is humanly possible get stretched and as a result you find yourself burnt out, lonely and eventually full of despair. Production for its own sake (or for your own sake) comes at a cost, one felt most keenly by those we love.

The Good News for Achievers is that God is not asking you to be like Him in this way. He’s not asking you to do everything, but to be a certain person in everything you do. He asks you to rest from labor—just as He did—and recognize that slow-burning values like honesty, commitment, and relationships are infinitely more important than anything that could be accomplished alone. The path of growth begins with admitting the difficult truth that you are neither indispensable nor untiring.

So carry on “getting stuff done” (and look good while doing it!), but refuse to listen to that inner voice pushing you to do more for acceptance. You are loved for who you are in Christ, not for what you do. Accept the gift of acceptance and use your gifts to produce—and then rest in the knowledge that God is still on the throne.

Pray: Father, forgive me for having an inflated view of myself. I erroneously believe that everything will fall apart if I stop moving, but You hold the world in the palm of your hand and only by your Holy Spirit are individual hearts and minds transformed. You can change the world without me but you’ve chosen to use me still. Enable me to restfully work today as I remember that my worth is found in Christ alone, not in what I produce.

Reflect:

  • What is fueling your desire to accomplish all that you want to get done today?
  • How does it feel to know that God won’t love you any more or less in regards to how much you accomplish today?
  • What do you want to be said about you on your tombstone?

Respond: Write down a few personal goals that stretch beyond work.

No one wakes up in the morning saying, “I’m going to view myself as less-than today.” But it’s something that happens subconsciously as you take blow after blow for the sake of peace. — Elisabeth Bennett

So [Hagar] called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi [the well of him who lives and sees]; it lies between Kadesh and Bered. — Genesis 16:13-14a

While some people are “full of themselves,” Peacemakers are typically “full of anything but themselves.” They see others as more important and will speak for them long before they stick up for themselves—often to a fault. When unhealthy, Peacemakers will completely neglect themselves or even use false modesty as a strategy. As Riso and Hudson explain,

“Identifying themselves as Nobody Special also offers Nines a certain camouflage, an ability to blend into the background where they will not be intruded on. Their Social Role also gives them the hope that if they do not take care of themselves, others will see their self-effacing humility and rush to their side.”

Most often, Peacemakers simply go unnoticed and underappreciated. They can be reduced to “cogs in the machine” in an achiever society that values productivity over people.

Hagar, an Egyptian slave, is just a cog in Abraham’s family machine, supporting his goals without getting anything in return. She has no other options than to simply continue serving those who take her for granted. Do you know the feeling?

After Abraham and Sarah are unable to conceive, they grow tired of waiting on God to fulfill the promise of offspring. In desperation, Sarah convinces Abraham to sleep with Hagar. To us, this might not seem like a solution for Sarah’s issue, but it was common practice in the ancient world for an infertile wife to use a servant girl as a surrogate. If Hagar’s union with Abraham produced a child, the child would legally be considered Sarah’s offspring.

Sure enough, Hagar conceives, but Sarah immediately feels contempt for her. It’s unclear if Hagar actually does anything to anger her mistress or if the simple fact of her pregnancy pushes Sarah over the edge. Regardless, the young, now pregnant woman, is no longer wanted. Fearing conflict, Abraham refuses to speak for Hagar (or his unborn child) and gives permission to his wife to treat Hagar as she wishes. Sarah’s treatment is so bad that Hagar chooses to go on the run. Having no right or ability to defend herself, in desperation, she flees into the desert. There, lost, alone, and pregnant with a child she did not ask for, she asks only for death.

Suddenly, the Angel of the Lord appears before Hagar, offering water and words of comfort, promising her descendants will be too many to count. She immediately praises God by saying, “You are El Roi!” meaning, “the God who sees me.” Though she feels abandoned, unsupported, and invisible, “the God who sees” looks on her with love and care.

Maybe you’re in a season where you believe no one sees or cares about you. You’ve been wondering if anyone will truly listen to, appreciate, or even pay attention to you. Perhaps you are in a dire situation not of your making but are forced to deal with anyway. Look no further than Hagar’s story to be reminded that this God sees you right now. He says to you, “Why are you hiding? Why are you running? Come back. I see you and will be with you.” Will you, like Hagar, praise El Roi today?

The Good News for Peacemakers is that God sees those who feel invisible. Beyond Hagar, the Bible is full of stories of those who feel forgotten and are met by God. When Hannah remains childless and feels like God isn’t hearing her prayers, God listens and gives her a son named Samuel, which means, “Heard by God.” Jacob’s wife, Leah, is constantly overlooked because she isn’t as attractive as her sister, Rachel. But God sees Leah and provides. When Israel begs for a king, God takes delight in anointing the unlikely and overlooked David to shepherd the people.

You matter to God. You are seen. Don’t give in to despair or the temptation to belittle yourself. As the saying goes, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” True humility is seeing yourself as God sees you. Part of your ongoing self-development will include learning not to discount yourself and your God-given abilities, but to use them to increase the peace and wholeness of the world.

Pray: Father, You are El Roi. You see me even when I feel invisible. Forgive me for forgetting that You are always there. You know the number of hairs on my head and value me more than the sparrows. You provide for everyday. Help me to value my personality, needs, and abilities as much as You do.

Reflect:

  • How do you picture the way God is looking at you at this very moment?
  • What might it look like for you to begin valuing yourself as God values you?
  • How do you use the “I’m nobody special” mask to get people to rush to your side or to camouflage yourself to keep people from intruding?

Respond: Being as specific as possible, write down how you think God would describe you to someone else.

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. —Genesis 3:22-24

Of Man’s First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat.
—John Milton

A young mid-western girl found herself in the eye of a storm. Once the twister strikes, it is too late to find refuge in the storm cellar. She grabs her dog and while they are in the house the powerful cyclone carries them far, far away from their Kansas home.

The Wizard of Oz, one of our favorite classics of all time, invites us to go on a journey with Dorthy along the yellow-brick road as she tries to find her way back home. The journey is filled with high highs and low lows as she has strange encounters with unordinary creatures including singing munchkins, winged monkeys, and wicked witches.

Dorthy’s story is not unlike our story. Humanity’s first couple—Adam and Eve—were enjoying paradise, walking with God and enjoying a life of joy, beauty, fruitfulness, and abundance. But they rebel after the Sneaky Serpent, that Nasty Accuser slithers into their lives seeking to kill and destroy. Therefore, God forcefully banishes them from their home and places several angels at the edge of the garden with a flaming sword to keep them away from the tree of life.

Feeling alone and abandoned, Adam and Eve had to re-learn how to survive in an uncaring and unwelcoming world. Fours know the feeling well. Life feels like one long search, driven by an insatiable longing for “their lost paradise.” Their inner-experience is one of feeling separated, cut off, and set adrift. They want to fit in with the rest of the world, to dance along with everyone else, but can’t seem to “keep in step” and find the same rhythm.

As a result, Fours have been perpetually sad for the connection that has been lost. They are like a child peering in the window from the outside watching their family open presents on Christmas morning. There is gut-wrenching despair as she wonders if she’ll ever be let back in.

Being incredibly self-aware, it’s not difficult for a Four to admit that it is mankind’s fault that a connection to God and His paradise has been severed. But the problem is they believe their failures are fatal. Even worse, they believe their failures are the result of an inner-deficiency, badness, and inadequacy. They may believe “there is something evil or poisonous about them” that is unredeemable and has caused God and others to abandon them permanently. They think, “If I’ve been abandoned by God everyone else will too.” Holding onto this belief will cause you to perpetually anticipate rejection, expect abandonment, and further distance yourself from the relationships you long to enjoy. 

The Good News for Individualists is that this isn’t the end of the story. God pulls back the curtain for the apostle John and gives him a symbolic vision of the final chapter which is recorded in the book of Revelation. In this vision, John sees the heavenly Garden of Eden with the tree of life right in the middle, accessible to all and bearing satisfying fruit. People from every generation and ethnicity are there together and know they belong. In the end, those who felt like outsiders have now become insiders. Those who once peered through the window with a feeling of sadness, are now eating at the table of rich food and well-aged wine.

At the end of Dorothy’s story she clicks her heels together three times, and says, “There’s no place like home.” She wakes up and realizes that she was home all the time! The same is true of you as a follower of Jesus. What you are longing for right now you already have in Christ. The drama of God’s story centers around a Rescuer from heaven who comes to sweep us back into his arms. Though you may get swept up in a cyclone of emotions from time to time and life feels like one big melodrama, Jesus’ promise remains the same: “I will never leave you.”

Pray: Father, You see the deepest longings of my heart and have pursued me from heaven. Help me to see that I am already home. Though my life has had many highs and lows, You’ve been with me every step of the way. Thank You for removing the angels and flaming sword from the gate of Eden. Through Your Son Jesus  I now have access to return to the garden and walk again with You unashamed.

Reflection:

  • When have you felt like you didn’t belong?
  • What triggers your feelings of alienation?
  • What makes you think that you are unlovable?
  • How does it feel to know that God’s presence is available and His paradise accessible wherever you are?

Respond: Make a list of the relationships that have shown you unconditional love and send a thank you.

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Should Christians Use The Enneagram?

1) Does the Enneagram put too much focus on self?
2) Is the Enneagram a Christian-based tool?
3) Is the Enneagram dangerous as a spiritual tool?
4) Is the Enneagram redeemable? (if it has mixed sources?)
5) Does using personality categories do more harm than good?
6) Does the Enneagram help or hinder our evangelism?
7) Can the Enneagram itself save us?

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