O grant us help against the foe, for human help is worthless. Psalm 60:11
Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God. John 6:68–69
Diane and I are in Nashville for her PLI team meeting and Christmas party. I’ve distributed my Flowers by God Photos by David 2019 calendar – our Christmas gift to the members of the PLI team. We’re also really enjoying the PLI in-service training event around the Enneagram (as well as the five-fold gifts (APEST), and five capitals). I have been somewhat skeptical of this new-to-me latest thing of self-discovery. Two discoveries on my part have helped me appreciate the Enneagram.
The Enneagram is actually an ancient tool (the roots of which date to as early as the 4th century) for thinking about and understanding oneself. It is connected to and grows out of how the seven deadly sins manifest themselves in our behaviors and how they influence our motivations.
Our training session today unpacked some deeper connections to issues around the positive and negative manifestations that each of us who follow Jesus experience and express. Some key thoughts for me today are reflected in the notes I took today:
The Journey of Selflessness
- Know myself
- Accept myself (stop here and you become narcissistic)
- Forget myself
- Give myself (the highest goal of Jesus followers)
The Power and Importance of Selflessness
- Knowledge of self + Knowledge of God = Life Transformation
- Lack of self-knowledge + Knowledge of God = Naive Optimism
- Self-Knowledge + Ignorance of God = Selfish Ambition
This is what connects with the verses above: none of this self-discovery is of any value apart from God’s presence, power, and influence in our lives. Only through Jesus and his words do we have life of any value. Only through his gift of eternal life does any of this have true value.
We may successfully navigate through life as a follower of Jesus without ever knowing about the Enneagram. If, however, we are willing to learn what we can about ourselves we may be able better to follow Jesus and have an impact in others’ lives, and have a kingdom impact on them.
If we stop the journey of self-awareness at the “Accept myself” step, we will simply be narcissists. If the Holy Spirit leads us to give myself to the benefit and blessing of others, we can have kingdom impact in the lives of others, helping them to listen for Jesus’ voice and seek God’s help in all of life, now and through all eternity.