June 18, 2021

Triangular Living

A natural human tendency is what I call “linear” living.  As we conduct our daily business we operate with a sense of self, on  the one side, and, on the other, the person or task currently before us.  God calls us to “triangular” living.  It is never just “us” and the task or person in front of us.  No task, no appointment, no solitary moment is outside the realm of His watchful, beneficent gaze.  As we cultivate an awareness of this fact and its implications, our view on the world, its people and our problems is transformed.  If we look forward through the eyes of Christ, our gaze becomes essentially godly.

TriangleJesus lived triangularly.  The evidence of it is in words like these, “The words I say to you are not must my own.  Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work” (John 15:10b).  Paul exhibits this kind of living, “I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits” (1 Cor. 16:7).  James advices it: “you ought to say, if it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:15).

Triangular living is a discipline that takes practice.  Some practical techniques can help us develop the habit but ultimately, we want it to become natural to us, like breathing itself.  Once, to jump start my development in this area, I actually set an alarm on my watch to sound periodically throughout the day as a reminder to look up and re-frame what I was doing in the light of Christ (if there is such a thing as a “spiritual nerd,” that has to qualify me).  More recently I have found that a day of fasting can accelerate my development in living triangularly.  Each hunger pang is a reminder to look up and pray.  This more intense practice helps me on the days when I’m not fasting to keep an eye heavenward.  Another useful and practical technique is scripture memory.  Rolling God’s words through the mind helps focus the mind on looking for God in the midst of the task at hand.

Jesus said, “Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”  Triangular living is fruitful living.  What helps you to keep an eye towards heaven in the rough and tumble of daily life?

4 thoughts on “Triangular Living

  1. Andrew,
    thanks for these thoughts. As I considered them it caused me to think that perhaps its not triangular but circular living. If God created us, Calls us,indwells us with His spirit, and if it is Him in whom we live and move and have our being, it seems to be more than three sided. Anyhow, just some thoughts.

  2. Andrew and Peter:

    I like both of your thoughts. There is, of course, always the danger of over-spiritualizing life. As you said so beautifully, Andrew…”Some practical techniques can help us develop the habit but ultimately, we want it to become natural to us, like breathing itself.” (I actually am coming to believe that God is actually our air and our breath….we can’t live without Him. He sustains us. He gives our bodies the ability to contain our souls. It’s so cool.)

    The author William Paul Young has this simple, but profound phrase on his website: “If anything matters…everything matters.”
    I got hit with that on two sides this morning. Hmmm…..maybe this triangular (or circular 😉 thing is working.


  3. Thanks to both for interacting. I find it interesting how God will use some little image or thought (like triangle or circle) to move us forward. Then, almost without fail, it will recede to the background and be replaced by something else. I think these kinds of aids are helpful as long as we don’t get stuck on them and lose sight of the ultimate goal… moving towards Christ.

  4. I love you guys you keep my mind and heart on point. Andrew I am setting my phone alarm right now!
    Triangular living works for my head I can see it and understand how it works. Peters circular living includes my lifestyle everything I do, me at all times God is with me. Steve’s natural living brings together my body and soul breathing is so natural that we don’t think about it we just keep going until it’s interrupted then we remember that we need air to breath. When I think of God as my air it humbles me He is present in my life so many times during the day and I did not even think about him.
    My awareness of God’s continual presence in my life is a rhythm I think God has a beat for us to live by a temp to set the pace, and we respond different ways sometime it’s that song that sticks in our head or our heart sometimes we have to clap our hands or sing it out loud and at times we have to stop everything an dance just like the patterns of music or the progression of a song I think God has set us to music and if we are aware of the source we will respond. I did not mean to ramble on an on but I read someplace “If anything matters everything matters”


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