I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Enneagram, but it’s hot in some circles. At its simplest, the Enneagram is a personality profiling tool that describes nine basic personality types. The idea is to find your type, discover how you live out your type, and then take steps to grow.
It’s actually been around for a long time but has recently gained a resurgence due to some popular books, podcasts, and social media. There’s a debate among some Christians about whether Christians should use the Enneagram for personal growth because it was influenced by other religions in its forming. And today some religious groups and individuals are using it in ways that make Christians uncomfortable.
But despite how other people choose to use the Enneagram model of personality, can God still use it to strengthen people’s walks with Christ and bring glory to Himself? I believe so, it happened with me.
When people ask me how I can be comfortable with the Enneagram when it’s being used by others in unbiblical ways, I certainly do respect their caution and loyalty to Scripture. Absolutely. But when I make decisions to engage in certain behavior, I like to run them through my “Christ filter.”
There seem to be three options—either a behavior will stifle my walk with Christ, meaning it’ll oppose it or weaken it; either it will strengthen it, meaning it’ll help my walk to flourish; or either it will be a stalemate, meaning it’ll be neutral. And so, when I want to think intentionally on a given behavior, I use my Christ filter.
I actually held off on learning about the Enneagram several times when it was first suggested to me. It was not witches and warlocks who told me of the Enneagram; they had not invited their coven over to pitch it to me.
Instead, it was at first a Christian business coach, who is a very committed Christian. And then it was several leaders from my church network, who use the Enneagram for leadership development, and who are also wholeheartedly committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ wherever they go.
And so, it was Christians who brought the Enneagram to me and finally I relented, learned about it, and boy am I grateful I did. I wish I had learned it much sooner. I would have saved myself and others some pain and heartache had I been living from the lessons earlier on.
So yes, God has used the Enneagram to strengthen my walk with Christ and bring glory to Himself.
Here are three ways:
I’m a Type 9 on the Enneagram and that means my core drive is to be at peace. I naturally want to feel at peace, resolved, and settled. This can cause me to seek peace in the wrong ways, and call something “peace” that isn’t really peace at all. But when I think of my position in Christ Jesus, my place as a son in the family of God, and my security because of Christ, I realize that is all the peace I need.
I feel grateful that my soul is resolved, I’m in right standing with God, and nothing can take that away. Before I understood what a Type 9 was, I didn’t appreciate why peace in Christ meant so much to me, but now I do, which propels me into praise, through and through.
Call me weird, but the first thing I like to do when I wake in the morning is to lay still and think on God. I tell Jesus I love him. I center my thoughts and affections on Him. I turn my heart Christ-ward and let it beat in his direction. It feels like a very sacred time.
But sometimes I feel guilty because I’m not reading the Bible at the time or praying petitions for people who are in need, and this laying around thinking of Jesus makes me feel lazy, so now I’m guilty and lazy for setting affections on Christ.
But then I read from Suzanne Zuercher’s book, “Using the Enneagram in Prayer,” and she wrote that Type 9’s are often drawn into “oneness” with Christ so they feel union with Him. When I read that, I thought I knew exactly what she meant.
It is a mystical oneness I feel with Christ when I go Christ-ward, and while I do make time for Bible reading and petition praying, it’s an important thing I do to seek oneness with Christ. I wouldn’t have become okay with this, a sacred activity for me and Christ, had I not learned from the Enneagram.
There are moments when I hear the Spirit’s call to step out with courage and do something I would not naturally do. When I obey and make that bold move, I know it is the Spirit’s work in me. I didn’t appreciate that until I learned from the Enneagram.
As a Type 9, my tendency is to remain still, out of the fray, in a place of rest. It is to seek the path of least resistance. But if you study the life of Jesus, you know he didn’t take that route. Christ was often the cause of controversy, the crux of conflict. (And not because he went around picking fights, people reacted to who he was, Pure Truth.)
As a Type 9 and at the same time called to walk in the ways of Christ, I often feel the squeeze between what I want to do (be at peace) and what I feel called out to do (upset the peace). But in those moments of following, when I choose God’s will over my own, I feel the Father’s pleasure when I ask for the strength of Christ.
For it is then that my personal limitations become vessels for God’s glory, and in my weaknesses, Christ’s strength is made perfect. I wouldn’t be so grateful for the abiding Spirit of Christ without the lessons of the Enneagram.
So you see, when I apply the Christ filter to this behavior of using the Enneagram, I find I am strengthened in my walk with Christ. I wouldn’t want to go without it because it has been a means of grace for me.
Want to learn more about the Enneagram?