Biblical Enneagram Types: SEVENS

Everyone needs a Seven in their life. Sevens bring a joie de vivre that is hard for some other types to come by. Sevens are commonly known as Enthusiasts, and they can be the most joyful, energetic, and optimistic people you know. I think one of the best portrayals of a Seven in recent pop culture is the character “Joy” from Inside Out. Take everything you know about a Seven, and it applies to her exactly. If you’ve never seen that movie, I HIGHLY recommend it. Just bring the tissues.

Enthusiasts live for the next adventure. The keyword is next. Sevens have difficulty living in the present. They are very future-oriented by nature. They live off that dopamine rush of expectation and anticipation. Sevens love planning events but can have trouble enjoying the event. They love ordering products online, but are always a little let down when it arrives. The problem with living this way is that Sevens develop a “more is better” mentality that can lead to serious commitment issues and even addiction.

The vice of Sevens is gluttony. If a little is good, more is better. Sevens can struggle with anything from overeating to gambling, alcohol and drug abuse, obsessive collecting, pornography or sexual addictions. Sevens are more prone to addictions than other types. Their primary need is to avoid pain, so they fall back into numbing behaviors when they can’t physically escape the painful or traumatic situation.

Another way they avoid dealing with the pain is through reframing. They are experts at finding the silver lining in any situation. They can spin a failure to find the positive outcome. They are often known for cracking jokes to lighten the mood when a conversation gets too serious.

On the surface Sevens can appear to be spontaneous and carefree. But below the surface, healthy Sevens can be some of the most grounded individuals who know what it means to experience true Joy even in the midst of sorrow.

AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART

One person in the Bible that I think was a Seven might come as a surprise – King David.

I automatically thought of David as a Four because of the Psalms. Sevens tend to be disconnected from their emotions, especially the negative ones like sadness and anger. The Psalms of David are packed with emotions. Many of them are even lament psalms – heavily sorrowful and downcast. The Psalms can be major Four territory.

But if you compare the Psalms of David with the Life of David, I think it becomes clear that he was a Seven who was highly in tune with his own emotions.

Let’s start at the beginning. The wounding message that Sevens latch onto during childhood is You are on your own. No one else is here to take care of you. A lot of Sevens had to fend for themselves somewhat during childhood. They learned early on to ensure their own survival. Think about David. He was the youngest in his family with seven older brothers. David was out tending sheep by himself (1 Samuel 16) with no one else to come to his rescue. He had to come up with his own ways of fending off the predators who would endanger the flock, so he became incredibly skilled with a sling. He had to find ways to keep his mind occupied during the endless hours in the field, so he became an expert musician and song writer.

Many Sevens that I know are very talented and skilled in a lot of different areas. They make me jealous.

Then think about the most famous story of his life – “David and Goliath.” Here comes David, a young teenager, into the battle lines. Everyone else is terrified of Goliath, but David steps up and says, “I’ll fight him!” He doesn’t have any armor. He doesn’t have a battle plan. All he has is a sling, some stones, and a boatload of confidence in God and in his abilities. What stands out to me, though, is David’s reasoning for taking on the giant. He’s already killed a lion…and a bear…and now a giant warrior! Remember – more is better. Sevens are always trying to one-up themselves.

One other instance in his life really stands out as a Seven-moment. David led the processional of priests bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the newly established capital city of Jerusalem. Remember how he entered the city? He was dancing nearly naked in the streets in front of God and everyone! His wife even confronted him about it later. But his response to her criticism is amazing: “I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.” (2 Samuel 6:21-22)

There would come a time, though, when his “gluttony” nearly ruined him. While his armies when out to war, David stayed home at the palace (avoiding pain and conflict). He looked out from his palace and saw a woman bathing on her roof. He asked about her and sent for her and used her. Remember what I said earlier about a tendency toward addiction and abuse? He already had a few different wives by that point – but he wanted her. When she became pregnant he arranged for her husband to be killed in battle rather than own up to what he had done. He nearly lost it all, but God was merciful.

Whenever I read through the story of David’s life – his adventures, his battles, his close calls, his antics – I’m absolutely intrigued. David lived life to the full and didn’t hold anything back. He was fearless and powerful, but he was also kind and gentle. He made his fair share of mistakes and blunders. But through it all, David remained a man after God’s own heart.

Sevens, if you’re still reading this and haven’t moved on to the next thing, then bravo! Here’s what you need to know. You must learn that more isn’t always better. Sometimes more is just more. Sevens need to learn to be content (Philippians 4:12-13). You also need to cultivate the disciplines of solitude and fasting, learning to say no to pleasures and to social engagements. Practice living in the moment and being fully present here and now instead of jumping to the next big thing in your mind.

Sevens inspire us, encourage us, and bring so much joy into our lives. Without them around, life would be much more boring and routine. But it’s ok for them to take a breather sometimes.
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High Five Thursday!

Have you ever been reading a story in the Bible and thought, “Man, if only I could have been there!”

Top 5 Biblical Fly-On-The-Wall Moments

Elemental Escape (Exodus 14:15-31)

How awesome would it be to be standing in the crowd with God on one side in a blazing column of fire while Moses is on the other side blasting an interstate highway through the sea? The chaos, the terror, the power, the elemental forces being tamed and manipulated right before your eyes.

It gives me chills just thinking about it.
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Now You See It… (Joshua 6)

There one minute; gone the next. The impenetrable walls of the mighty Jericho stood before the Israelites in all their pride and glory. After some lovely afternoon strolls around the city, a bit of yelling, and some Louis Armstrong, Jericho was reduced to a pile of rubble and ashes. Well, except for that one brothel.

Americans can’t get enough of destruction films in which the White House, the Capitol Building, and the Empire State building are destroyed by natural (or unnatural) forces, e.g. Independence Day, Deep Impact, 2012, etc.

This would be better than any of them.
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The Original 300 (Judges 7)

Long before Leonidas and his merry band of Spartans held off hordes of Persians, ninjas, and rhinos (???), there was Gideon. He was chosen by God to lead Israel’s armies in a counter strike against the evil Midianites, all 150,000 of them. Israel turns out 32,000 recruits to defend their nation. Even with that they are outnumbered 5-1. Through a series of questions (Are you afraid?), and grueling physical challenges (drink from this stream), basic training narrowed the field to 300 men, armed with nothing more than a pot, a torch, and a trumpet. Sounds like they got their battle strategy from the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living.

Anyway, the part of the story I would love to overhear and see is the conversation between God and Gideon as he explains his whole plan of attack. A saner man would have just walked away, but I guess Gideon was just crazy enough to believe that God knew what he was doing.
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The True Underdog Story (1 Samuel 17)

This is the story to which all other underdog scenarios are compared. The battle of David and Goliath.

We all know the story. The little shepherd boy (who for some reason always looks about 9 on the flannel graph) musters up the courage to fight the giant in a head to head (or head to waist) battle. One little stone goes up, up, up, and the giant comes tumbling down.

The part I wish I were there for is the part we don’t talk about in the children’s songs or Sunday school. After Goliath falls, David runs up, takes Goliath’s ginormous sword and beheads the not-so-friendly giant. Like a boss.
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Seeing is Believing (John 20:24-29)

This scene has always fascinated me. We know that Jesus experienced a physical resurrection, yet his body no longer seems to be bound by the laws of physics. He still eats and drinks, he still walks and sits down, but he can also walk through walls or something. Not quite like Casper, but somehow able to appear and disappear in the blink of an eye.

Well, the apostles are all gathered together behind closed and locked doors (rough neighborhood?), but this time, Thomas is with them. As if on cue, Jesus appears and shows Thomas his battle scars. I’m not so interesting in seeing the resurrected Christ. I don’t need to see to believe. I’m more interested in the physical, spiritual, and emotional response given by Thomas. His is the most sincere and profound confession in all the gospels. “My Lord, and my God.”

Merciful Punishment: Reflections on the Good Judge

It’s sad but true. To the average person, even the average Christian, YHWH of the Old Testament and Theos of the New seem to be two completely different persons. Most associate the God of the OT with rules and regulations who dished out wrath and punishment if disobeyed. Meanwhile, they view the God of the NT as a God of love and forgiveness who tosses grace and mercy like candy flung from a float in the Independence Day Parade.

I will grant that God’s dealings with humans seems to be a bit more direct and immediate in the days of Moses and Elijah. But is His character really that different? Some of His punishments do seem a bit harsh, but is there more to them than just the surface level understanding?

The teacher of the adult class on Sunday morning briefly mentioned the infamous Bathsheba incident. David rapes and impregnates the wife of his friend and officer. To cover it up, he has him sent to the front lines and killed, thus freeing himself to take Bathsheba as his own wife. Adultery, murder, lies–doesn’t he know the Big 10?

Anyway, God calls David out through Nathan the prophet. Caught red handed. Nowhere to run; nowhere to hide. David said it himself that he deserves to die. So God strikes him dead then and there.

Wait…no he doesn’t. The punishment is carried out on the child. This is enough to get most people stirring in their seats. Is God really a baby killer? Egyptians, sure. King Herod, of course. But God?

This bothered me. It still bothers me. But God is God and I am not. His ways are higher than my ways.

Let’s take a deeper look into this punishment. Is there any mercy in it?

Yes.

If God had killed David instead of the baby:

  • Israel would be without a leader. Division would run rampant and would certainly tear the country to pieces. That happens later, but Israel wouldn’t come close to the golden era of Solomon.
  • Bathsheba would be a widowed single mother. She would have nothing. Begging or prostitution would likely be her only options to support herself and her child.
  • The child would have grown up with the label of the king’s bastard child and the son of a whore. Any hope of having a normal childhood and making any sort of living for himself would be a long shot to say the least.
But God, in His infinite wisdom, chose to spare David’s life and take the child. So the baby got to go directly to heaven (I believe baby’s are innocent, so when they die, their souls are automatically taken to be with God). Bathsheba became a queen instead of a widow. The nation of Israel continued thrive under their greatest king to date. Bathsheba gave David even more sons, one of whom became heir to the throne and ushered in Israel’s golden age.
Okay, so this is one example in which God’s punishment is also infused with mercy. But there are many, many more.
  • God could have struck Adam and Eve dead on the spot and started all over. But He killed animals in their place to make proper clothing to cover their shame and nakedness. They still lived a long life outside of the garden, started a family, and still remained close to God.
  • Cain killed his brother in cold blood. Rather than taking a life for a life, God put a mark on Cain and sent him away. But further reading reveals that Cain eventually got married, started a family, and established his own city.
  • When Israel began its conquest into the promised land, God was essentially using them as a tool for carrying out His punishment against the Canaanites. Yet if the land’s inhabitants would simply believe in the power of YHWH and repent, God was more than willing to spare their lives. Hence, Rahab and her family were the only Jericho survivors.
God is called the righteous judge because His sentences, His punishments, are naturally infused with mercy. Next time you read through the Law and the Prophets, look for the mercy within the narratives of wrath and punishment. You’ll be surprised by what you find.