Characteristics of Christ | JOY

A 40 Day Journey to Becoming Like the One We Follow

Day 4: Joy (John 15:11)

I like to imagine Jesus laughing. Some of his teachings are genuinely funny, witty, even sarcastic. Jesus partied. He went to weddings and celebrations and festivals and feasts. He hung out with all the wrong people – and those people usually have the best time.

I love the story of Jesus inviting the little children to come to him. He took time out of his day to bless the kids. He even told us that we should become like little children if we want to enter the kingdom of heaven.

You know what children have an abundance of? Joy.

They laugh and play and goof off for no reason and with no spurring them on. Fun and joy and excitement and laughter – these are all things that define childhood.

So what happened?

Somewhere along the way we lost our child-like wonder and joy. When we come across an adult who is genuinely joyful, we remember them, we want to be around them, we’re confused by them. But joy is the fruit of the Spirit living in us! Jesus wants all of us to be joyful as we follow him.

What steals our joy? Worry. Obligation. Fatigue. Stress. Fear.

Are any of those things prescribed by Jesus? Are any of those the result of a Spirit-filled life? Of course not! Let’s be intentional about living joyfully.

Smile more. Laugh more. Get on the floor and play with your kids. Rejoice in the Lord, for you are his child. We have every spiritual blessing and eternal life awaiting us.

So let’s party.

PURE | 40 Days of Focus, Day 23


Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
(Matthew 5:8 | NIV) 

You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
(Matthew 5:8 | The Message)

Pure in heart. Now that’s a phrase we don’t use a lot. We don’t tend to talk about purity that often. We want our water to be pure. We want essential oils to be a certain degree of purity. We like pure gold and Purity Milk. But our hearts? Is it even possible to be “pure in heart?”

When I think of this phrase I think of innocence. Deep down we all know that we adults are anything but pure and innocent. In fact, if we meet someone in their late teens or early twenties who actually is “pure,” we feel uncomfortable around them. We call them sheltered or socially awkward. There’s something unsettling about an adult who is “too” innocent or pure hearted. They’re just a little too childlike.

But isn’t that the point? Jesus said that we must become like little children if we want to enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus pointed out children as an example of the kind of faith it takes to follow him. Children who haven’t become jaded or cynical yet are refreshing and even inspiring. They don’t get the innuendoes. They don’t automatically distrust people. They don’t carry around emotional baggage. There is freedom that comes from purity.

Care-free. Joyful. Optimistic. Does this sound like a certain Enneagram type? If you know the Enneagram, I’m sure you’re thinking of Sevens, also known as Enthusiasts.

Sevens are fun to be around, because they’re always up for the next adventure. They bring joy and excitement to their work and whatever else they find to do. Healthy Sevens have an innocence about them that draws people in. Think Bob Goff or “Joy” from Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out.

Sevens are always concerned about what comes next. They want to see all the things. They want to do all the things. Most of the time the expectation of the thing is better than the thing itself. Planning the trip can be more fun than actually going on the trip. Ordering the new product is better than that product arriving. Mapping out the project is better than executing the project.

But what’s the best thing you can imagine? Can you imagine actually seeing God? Being in God’s presence? As exciting as it may be to anticipate that moment, it’s nothing compare to experiencing heaven.

Sevens can be some of the most hesitant Type to actually do the hard inner work required of them. They enjoy being themselves, why would they want to change?! But Enthusiasts must align their inner world with their outer world to become fully present in the moment. They’re always looking to the future, but God is always now.

Bring your inner and outer world into alignment. Pursue your dreams from a pure motivation. Become fully present in the moment. Then you will be able to take a look around and see God at work all around you.

What do purity, joy, and productivity have to do with each other?

What do you think it means to “see God?” What do you imagine that will be like?

What does it look like for an adult to be “pure in heart” or innocent without being completely awkward about it?

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.


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.