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Hello, Six!

I have a lot of experience with Loyalists because I married a Six! My wife, Lindsey, is one of the most courageous people I know and she has taught me courage, not the other way around. While I have the gift of faith and can run after intimidating ideas and plans, she often runs toward intimidating people. Though Lindsey is way more warm and caring than me, she is also scrappier. Her mom had to physically hold her back once in a department store from fighting a woman who was “talking trash” about an incident in the parking lot. Often, after a store messes up my order and I’m content to take what I’ve been given, Lindsey is already on the phone with customer service because no one is going to take advantage of us! I love her dearly. 

Sixes are like CIA officers in a spy-action thriller—caring and compassionate toward their family by day, but deadly assassins at night, taking down the bad guys. Yes, this makes you appear more complicated to others, but you make the rest of our lives more fun and interesting.

Because self-awareness is a necessary part of spiritual growth, the Enneagram can be helpful. Unlike other “personality” profiles such as Clifton StrengthsFinder and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the aim of the Enneagram is to uncover why we do what we do—to help us see what lies behind our strengths and weaknesses. If we use it as a diagnostic tool and allow the Bible to provide the language for our interpretation, it can produce great change in our lives, relationships, and work.

I admit, we must tread carefully as we draw insights from fields with limited horizons of evidence like psychology. But as with anything we come across in this fallible world, we can put on our gospel lens and make use of what God has provided to us through his common grace.

Let’s look at how the gospel both affirms and challenges the unique characteristics of your personality type.

The Gospel Affirms Loyalists

God sympathizes with the worldview of a Loyalist. This dangerous world lacks safety and is filled with naive, unreliable, dismissive, and abusive people. We need honest, faithful, and protective guardians who will care for the most vulnerable, be prepared for the worst but hope for the best, teach us how to be team players in a “me” culture, and demonstrate that love is not a fuzzy idea, but helpful and practical. Therefore, a Loyalist will be happy to know the Bible affirms the following beliefs:

  • God created us to be loyal and faithful. “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 3:3)
  • God created us to be cautious and prepared. “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 27:12)

  • God created us to be watchful and discerning. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

  • God created us to be honest and dependable. “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” (Luke 16:10)

  • God created us to protect the helpless and defenseless. “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1:17)

  • God created us to long for safety. “ ‘Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,’ says the LORD; ‘I will place him in the safety for which he longs.’ ” (Psalm 12:5)
  • God created us to have eternal security. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)

The Gospel Challenges Loyalists

The gospel also provides specific challenges to Loyalists. Now we’ll explore the most common lies Sixes believe and see how the Bible provides much better promises and blessings.

  • Lie #1: I am not safe. The worldview of the Loyalist is that the world is a dangerous place and others are out to get them. It’s no wonder that many Sixes suffer from pre-traumatic stress syndrome! No matter how bad the world gets, cling to this truth: “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:18). Do you burn a lot of calories worrying about the state of the world or the lives of your loved ones? God’s daily challenge to you is “do not be anxious about anything,” (Philippians 4:6) but “[cast] all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Living in a dangerous world makes it easy to become suspicious of God’s sovereignty. Therefore, repentance for a Six looks like letting go of unfounded suspicions and making a conscious decision to trust “the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9).
  • Lie #2: This isn’t going to end well. Because imminent catastrophe could happen at any time, the focus of attention for the Loyalist is on what could go wrong. Sixes are plagued by life’s innumerable “what-ifs” and are often led to believe, as the American poet Robert Lowell humorously said, “the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train.” But the good news is that whatever life throws at you, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Because of Christ’s presence, God has provided the best possible outcome for your worst-case scenarios. When the core fear of being helpless or defenseless happens, Sixes don’t have to be afraid. Paranoia dies in the presence of the Prince of Peace. When Sixes realize they’re not alone, the vice of fear gets turned into the virtue of courage.
  • Lie #3: I must sleep with one eye open. Because the core longing of a Loyalist is to be safe and secure, you might believe you have to be “on duty” at all times. Because we serve an all-knowing God, you don’t have to wear yourself out thinking about every traumatic situation that could possibly happen. Your job is to prepare for the worst but hope (in God) for the best. Overpreparing won’t always keep you from danger because much of life happens outside of our control. As King Solomon pointed out, “unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1). In other words, don’t place your security in your preparedness but in God’s protection. Don’t allow worry to become a “safe place” for you, believing more scanning will lead to more security. Instead, say this prayer and go take a nap: “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8). 
  • Lie #4: I am loved for being dependable. Loyalists have a fear of being punished or banished from their “wolf pack” for being deviant. That’s why Sixes tell themselves, “I’m good as long as I do what is expected of me.” But this is a heavy weight to carry. The good news is that God’s love is not dependent on how devoted you are. No matter how well you keep the law, Christ will always keep you: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). If you are God’s beloved, you can cast out any fear of being punished or abandoned because “fear has to do with punishment,” (1 John 4:18) but Jesus’s death on the cross frees you from condemnation for all your past, present, and future sins (Romans 8:1).
  • Lie #5: It’s not okay to trust myself. The childhood message the Loyalist heard growing up was “It’s not okay to trust yourself to make decisions or assume authority.” It doesn’t help that Sixes have an “inner-committee” of voices in their head causing them to doubt themselves and second-guess all their decisions. The good news is you’ve been given an inner-guidance system called the Holy Spirit who will “instruct and teach you in the way you should go” (Psalm 32:8). Furthermore, Jesus has given you “power and authority” (Luke 9:1) to lead courageously, bring healing to the hurting, protest injustice, and tell the wolves in sheep’s clothing where to go. Because God did not give you a Spirit of fear but of power (2 Timothy 1:7), you can “trust your gut” more and see positions of authority as an opportunity to better love and protect the people you care about.
  • Lie #6: My authorities or support structures will keep me safe. Feeling unable to survive on their own, Loyalists lean on authorities, structures, belief systems, and allies as their key to safety. These perceived safety nets appear to provide insurance and assurance but must be let go of to follow Jesus for “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man” (Psalm 118:8). The leaders you follow and detailed plans you make are not fail-safe, but Jesus, your Faithful Friend and Good Authority—who remained committed to the Father’s plan even unto death—is someone you can trust with your whole life. True loyalty means breaking free from the codependency or blind obedience to your safety nets and remembering that “your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3), your solid rock and tower of refuge. 

As you can see, the gospel will challenge your perception of the protagonists and antagonists in your life. In the Loyalist’s kingdom, those who make you feel secure are rewarded. Your “heroes” become those who indulge every concern, don’t challenge you to take risks, and praise you for being a realist (not a pessimist!). Likewise, your “villains” become those who challenge you to become a best-case scenario thinker, be more flexible, show up with solutions (not just hard questions), and take steps of faith even when there are no guarantees.

God’s kingdom will not be filled with those who played it safe, but rather men and women who, according to Hebrews 11, are commended for taking giant leaps “by faith” into the things they could not see. In this place, cowardice is exchanged for courage, certainty for trust, fear for faith, and the devil’s advocates become God’s advocates. In this place, structure submits to the Spirit, success is pursued over survival, and safety is not an end, but the means to a better end: pursuing all of God’s bold aspirations for your life. In this place, the anxious let go of their worries and rest “in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).

Are you still skeptical of the Enneagram? Check out my FREE resource called “Should Christians Use The Enneagram?” where I discuss the roots and origins of the Enneagram.

Next Step: Get the 40-Day Devotional

For the Enneagram Six—the Loyalist—life is all about protecting the ones you love. While our increasingly naive and unreliable world needs your faithfulness and courage, sometimes your need for security causes you to get stuck, overprepare, sleep with one eye open, and struggle to trust others. 

Certified Enneagram Coach and pastor, Tyler Zach, offers this 40-day devotional to give you confidence to stand up and offer your tender strength to a world in desperate need. Your God-given purpose is larger than your fear and requires supernatural courage.

Inside, you’ll discover how to become a best-case scenario thinker, be more flexible, grow in self-confidence, pursue success over suruvial, and view safety not as an end, but the means to a better end—so you can pursue all of God’s bold aspirations for your life. Be prepared to encounter a faithful God who perfectly understands your concerns, extends reassurance for your doubts, and offers you unconditional rest and protection.

Get the “The Gospel for Loyalists: A 40-Day Devotional for Dependable, Courageous, Guardians” on Amazon right now.

Gospel For Enneagram Devotional Series Tyler Zach

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