Encouragement for a lifelong journey of faith

Author: Circle of Hope (Page 1 of 473)

April 17, 2021 — How did Jesus overcome? (Heart/Feeling – Types 2, 3, 4)

Today’s bible reading

The affirmation and living that flows from that

“You are my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus found his worth in God. He didn’t need the crowds to fawn over him or shape his identity to know his calling and purpose. 

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2: 3-4

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4: 15-16

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:10

Thoughts for meditation

Temptations of the heart triad 

People who identify as a type in the Heart “Triad” (Types 2, 3, and 4) are preoccupied with image and the perceptions of others; they live with a sense of being inadequate.

Twos need to be needed. In the fear of being unwanted, they go out of their way to please others. This can show up as manipulative, possessive and overly accommodating or demonstrative.

Threes need to feel they have worth. To ensure they are worth something, they strive for productivity, value achievements and success, and avoid failure at all costs. This can show up as competitive, cut throat, superficial, or vindictive. 

Fours need to be special. They are motivated by the need to experience their feelings and to be understood, to search the meaning of life, and to avoid being ordinary. This can show up as being depressed, self-conscious, moody or self-absorbed.

Jesus was tempted to throw himself from the top of the temple in a grand display of his divinity. In other words, that he was tempted to show others that He is, without a doubt, the Messiah and that his current approach is not enough, that he must do something grand to manage people’s perception of Him. (Luke 4:9-12) 

Jesus living in truth 

Having grounded his ministry in truth, he is able to live out the best of the feeling triad, reflecting God’s characteristics of love, nurturing, hope, creativity, and beauty. 

For Jesus, this showed up as compassionate touch and a confidence in his plan. He didn’t feel the need to demonstrate his powers to prove anything before the time was riht. He moved with love towards everyone around him.

“A leper came to Him (Jesus), begging on his knees, “If You want to, You can cleanse me.” Deeply moved, Jesus put out His hand, touched him, and said, “I want to. Be clean.” Then and there the leprosy was gone, his skin smooth and healthy.” Mark 1: 40-42 

“He (Jesus) was teaching in one of the meeting places on the Sabbath. There was a woman present, so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t even look up. She had been afflicted with this for eighteen years. When Jesus saw her, He called her over. “Woman, you’re free!” He laid hands on her and suddenly she was standing straight and tall, giving glory to God.” Luke 13: 10-13

Twos at their best are loving, caring and adaptable. They make wonderful hosts and supportive friends. They are tuned into how others are feeling making them particularly compassionate.

Threes at their best are optimistic, confident and industrious. They make stuff happen, make great leaders, and practically get things done, and get them done well!

Fours at their best are warm, compassionate and introspective. They inspire others around them with their unique creativity and expressions.  

Suggestions for action

  • In what ways do you find yourself seeking other people’s approval?  
  • Do you believe that God is pleased with you? What might be holding you back from accepting that unconditional love?
  • How would it feel to ground your self-worth in God’s view of yourself, instead of your own or others?

April 16, 2021 — How did Jesus overcome? (Head/Thinking – Types 5, 6, 7) 

Today’s bible reading
The affirmation and living that flows from that

God said to Jesus that he was well pleased with him, that Jesus had God’s favor before he even started his life work and ministry! Like Jesus, God is pleased with us – his good creation. 

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:8-10

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34: 4

Jesus living in truth
Having grounded his ministry in truth, he is able to live out the best of the thinking triad, reflecting God’s characteristics of wisdom, truth, joy, abundance, loyalty, and faithfulness. 

“Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”[a] But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

“For the joy that was set before him [Christ] endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” Hebrews 12:2

“Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.”  Matthew 19:13-15

Thoughts for meditation

Head and thinking

People of the Thinking “Triad” are preoccupied with anxiety and how to reduce it. After all, the world is an insecure place, and we’ve got to get everything in order if we’re going to make it through!

Fives fear being useless, helpless, or incapable. They are motivated by the need to know and understand everything, to be self-sufficient, and to avoid looking foolish. This can show up as intellectually arrogant, isolated, critical of others, or negativity.

Sixes fear being unsupported. They are motivated by the need for security.  Sixes often anticipate the worst and their mistrust leads to their tendency to project hostility, hatred and negative thoughts onto other people. This can show up as controlling, unpredictable, judgmental or paranoid.

Seven fear being deprived or in pain. They are motivated by the need to be happy. Their method to avoid pain is amazingly simple: “I want to be cheerful instead of sad. I want to enjoy life.” This can result in a blind optimism, impulsiveness, lack of discipline, and self destructive tendencies.

Jesus was tempted to bow before the satan and be rewarded with position, status, and positive experiences. Jesus knew the path of pain and rejection before him – imagine how tempting this must have felt! The head temptation here is to do whatever it takes to get favor and survive.  (Luke 4:3-4)

Fives at their best are great problem solvers. Their analytical approach and perceptive wisdom enlightens those around them. Embracing God’s favor of them helps fives move beyond their self-sufficient shell, and empower them to experience a secure love in the inner world (the experience of God) and in the outer world (love from fellow human beings).

Sixes at their best are great and loyal allies. They are likable, caring, warm, and helpful. When you’re in with a sixes, you’re in. They’ve got your back! Knowing God is pleased with them, they can  break free from external direction by authorities and take over responsibility for their lives and feelings, building a faith and trust based relationship with God and others.

Sevens at their best fun-loving, spontaneous and enthusiastic. When embracing God’s pleasure with them, a seven can find a sober joy that can be authentic and deep if it doesn’t lose itself in superficial addiction and pain. Trusting in God will help them slow down, stop the continual chatter and accept the realities of life that are hard instead of blindly avoiding them in addition to having abundant joy.

Suggestions for action

  • Knowing more, having fun, an exaggerated need for security… Reflect on yourself – which of these coping mechanisms do you use most often?
  • How would it feel to trust and know that God’s favor rests on you? 

April 15, 2021 — How did Jesus overcome? (Gut/Doing – Types 8, 9, 1)

Over this week, we’ve been looking at Jesus and the Enneagram. If you are unfamiliar with the Enneagram types, please revisit Day 1 of this series, “Jesus through the lens of the Enneagram.” 

Today’s Bible reading

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’–Luke 4:3-4

More thoughts for meditation

Gut and doing

People of the Gut “Triad” are preoccupied with anger and a desire to shape the environment beyond oneself in order to gain control.

Eights are motivated by the need to be self-reliant and strong and to avoid feeling weak or dependent. Under certain circumstances eights can deny anything that doesn’t fit into their own concept of truth and justices. This can show up as controlling, rebellious, domineering or aggressive.

Nines are motivated by the need to keep the peace, to merge with others, and to avoid conflict. Since they, especially, take on qualities of the other eight types. Nines have many variations in their personalities, from gentle and mild-mannered to independent and forceful. This can show up as spaced-out, forgetful, apathetic, or unassertive.

Ones are motivated to live their life the right way, including improving themselves and the world around them. They strive to be perfect but may harbor pent up anger at the non-perfect world they live in. This can show up judgmental, inflexible, dogmatic or critical of others. Jesus was tempted to turn stone into bread instead of trusting in the Father to provide. The desire here is for control, and the ability to take care of one’s self.

The affirmation and living that flows from that

God said to Jesus “You are my child” and God calls us God’s children, too. Like a good parent, God will provide for you.

  • “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” Matthew 7:9-11
  • “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26
  • “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 6:26

Jesus living in truth 

Having grounded his ministry in truth, he is able to live out the best of the Gut / Doing triad, reflecting God’s characteristics of justice, strength, and harmony. 

John 11: 32-36 Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at His feet, saying, “Master, if only You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within Him. He said, “Where did you put him (Lazarus)?” “Master, come and see,” they said. Now Jesus wept. The Jews said, “Look how deeply He loved him.”

Luke 19: 41-46 When the city came into view, He (Jesus) wept over it. “If you had only recognized this day, and everything that was good for you! But now it’s too late. In the days ahead your enemies are going to bring up their heavy artillery and surround you, pressing in from every side. They’ll smash you and your babies on the pavement. Not one stone will be left intact. All this because you didn’t recognize and welcome God’s personal visit.” Going into the Temple He began to throw out everyone who had set up shop, selling everything and anything. He said, “It’s written in Scripture, My house is a house of prayer; you have turned it into a religious bazaar.”

Mark 2:15-17 ”While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners? On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.””

Eights at their best are direct, authoritative, energetic and protective. They use their power to make space for justice as well as others instead of domineering. When embracing God is in control, they are willing to let go of their own control and embrace the vulnerability required to trust in others.

Nines at their best are pleasant, peaceful, generous, empathetic. They listen well, are objective, and make excellent mediators and diplomats. When embracing God is in control, they feel more comfortable taking action. 

Ones at their best in relationship are ethical, dedicated, organized, and productive. They are efficient, organized and always complete the task. When ones can let go of the voices of duty and responsibility and let themselves drop down into God, the perfect lover, they are immediately lead to love. 

Suggestions for action

  • In what ways do you seek control? How does having control make you feel? How does it feel to let go? 
  • Do you believe that God is truly in control of things? What might be holding you back from accepting that truth? 
  • What would it look like to fully trust in God instead of taking matters into your own hands?

Today is Corrie Ten Boom Day! Visit this Dutch holocaust survivor and evangelist at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.

April 14, 2021 — Jesus knows our temptations

“Self-knowledge is tied with inner work, which is both demanding and painful. Change occurs amid birth pangs. It takes courage to walk such a path. Many avoid the path of self-knowledge because they are afraid of being swallowed up in their own abysses. But Christians have confidence that Christ has lived through all the abysses of human life and that he goes with us when we dare to engage in such confrontation with ourselves.” -Andreas Ebert 

Today’s Bible reading

Breaking the cycle

You ever feel like life’s not fair? We’re surrounded by challenges, suffering, and temptations. Growing up, our needs go unmet time and time again, so we develop coping mechanisms. These develop into hard shells, hurtful habits, and destructive patterns of living. What are we supposed to do about it? How is it possible to undo these patterns of living? It often feels like it’s a struggle just getting through the day! 

Today, I offer encouragement. Jesus totally gets it. But more than sympathize, he actually has interceded on our behalf to wipe away the hurt, cleanse us anew, and restore our connection with God. More than offer a pragmatic example of how to live a life grounded in truth, he literally pours his life into us. Through Jesus we access the wellspring of life that never runs dry, and bear the fruits of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control.

“Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” Hebrews 4:14-16

To take a step closer to God, let’s understand what lies might be holding us back from feeling that connection. 

More thoughts for meditation

The lies we tell ourselves 

Now we’re going to get a little Enneagram technical. In the diagram, you’ll see the types operate from three different “centers”. These centers are modes of operation, how we process and internalize information and events. The nine types are divided into three centers to form triads. Each center tends to overemphasize one aspect of life: Types Five, Six, and Seven (head center) tend to overidentify with their thinking; Types Eight, Nine, and One (body center) tend to overidentify with doing; and Types Two, Three, and Four (heart center) tend to overidentify with their relationships.

  • The Head or Thinking Triad (Types 5, 6, 7)
    • These types are most preoccupied with anxiety and how to reduce it. After all, the world is an insecure place, and we’ve got to get everything in order if we’re going to make it through!
    • The temptation to do whatever it takes to survive
  • The Heart or Feeling (Types 2, 3, 4)
    • Heart types are most preoccupied with image and the perceptions of others; they live with a sense of being inadequate.
    • The temptation to find identity in how others value you
  • The Gut or Doing Triad (Types 8, 9, 1)
    • Folks in the Gut triad are most preoccupied with anger and a desire to shape the environment beyond oneself in order to gain control.
    • The temptation is to take matters into your own hands and have things your way

Jesus knows these same temptations 

“Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry.

The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: “Since you’re God’s Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread. Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to really live.” 

For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, “They’re yours in all their splendor to serve your pleasure. I’m in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they’re yours, the whole works. Jesus refused, again backing his refusal with Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness. 

For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, “If you are God’s Son, jump. It’s written, isn’t it, that ‘he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone’? ”Yes,” said Jesus, “and it’s also written, ‘Don’t you dare tempt the Lord your God.’” That completed the testing. The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity.” Luke 4:1-13 (Message)

We can compare the three temptations he faced to the same temptations of the different triads:

  • “Turn stone into bread” (Gut)
    • The temptation to take matters into your own hands and have things your way
  • “Jump and angels will catch you” (Heart)
    • The temptation to find identity in how others value you
  • “Bow down and be rewarded” (Head)
    • The temptation to do whatever it takes to survive

Affirmations from God

How did Jesus face these struggles and overcome them? Before Jesus went into the desert, he sought God. He went to be baptized and God spoke over him in truth. Jesus let this be the source of his identity. He was prepared to face temptations after connecting with God. 

“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”” Matthew 3:16-17

Let’s break this down a little bit: 

  • “This is my child”
    • You are a creation of God, and like a good parent, God will provide for you.
    • “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” Matthew 7:9-11
  • “Who is loved”
    • God described Jesus as his beloved – being loved by God is part of Jesus’s core identity. It’s unconditional love!
    • “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
  • “Upon whom my favor rests”
    • This baptism was before Jesus even started his ministry. God is pleased with us as we are. We are very his good creation!
    • “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:8-10

Suggestions for action

Despite facing the same temptations we do, Jesus did not fall prey to the subconscious stories that power, love, or favor. He let God define his identity, not himself, not others. Let us follow Jesus and draw near to God, that our thirst may be satisfied.

Questions

  • Which of the lies or temptations do you fall prey to? Hint: It’s often the one that makes you most uncomfortable to admit.
  • Consider the corresponding affirmation from God – what would life look like if you embraced that promise fully?
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