The Enneagram and the Gospel

One of the pastors at my church recently said that if you don’t trust yourself, it means you aren’t trusting God.


That made my heart skip a beat. How true that is!

And this is why I want to teach people how to use the tool of the Enneagram alongside the transformative power and truth of the Gospel. Without the Enneagram, it would have taken me a very long time to realize that all of my researching and advice-seeking was directly related to self-doubt (a key characteristic of Type 6). I knew that I struggle to trust God, but I never noticed that I also struggle to trust myself. When I place those two forms of doubt together in one category, I now see that I can’t just build my faith in God. I have to believe that He made me capable of accomplishing His purposes and that He is actively equipping me to serve His kingdom. You see, if I say “well, I’m just not strong/brave/smart enough to do what God has called me to do,” then I am really saying “I don’t believe God has made me strong/brave/smart enough to do what He has called me to do.” Ouch.

This is one example of how I see the Gospel and the Enneagram working together. The Enneagram illuminates the lies that Satan has been teaching us all our lives, and the Gospel shows us how God rescues us from those lies.

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 (ESV)

What parts of our lives make us so ashamed that we hide from them? God cannot redeem those struggles until we acknowledge them and repent. Sometimes, though, we get so good at hiding from our struggles that we become blind to them. Sometimes, we even begin to cherish them. It’s really hard to repent for sins you don’t know exist. It’s nearly impossible to transform a bad habit that has become a security blanket or badge of honor. This has been my lifelong struggle with self-doubt. I’ve never felt that my uncertainty was a form of doubt. In fact, I thought it was wisdom! Shouldn’t we all seek counsel from others who have more experience? The problem is that I expect others to give me the right answer, and I forget to seek God’s wisdom and strength. So, the Enneagram forced me to examine my blind spots and extract my favorite sins.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Point out anything in me that offends you,

and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)

Certainly, I believe God can do this work in our hearts without the Enneagram. The Enneagram is just a tool. But I believe it is a tool that can help us start this process of seeking God, searching our hearts for sin and unbelief, and trusting Him to make us the new creation He intends us to be.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns…May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation – the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ – for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” Philippians 1:6 & 11 (NLT)

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