I am writing this article on a Thursday. Literally, just an hour or two ago, I got a call from my wife, Elizabeth. Her first comments to me were, “Was anything wrong with the van when you drove it last night?” You can probably already sense the sinking feeling I had in my gut. Thankfully, as it turned out, everything was okay. It was a warm day and she had run over a soft patch of new asphalt without realizing it (If you’ve been up our way on Leestown Road recently and seen the construction, you know why.). That asphalt on the tire was causing the car to feel out of balance. However, as she continued driving, it eventually fell off, and the van regained smooth handling. Having balance is important in cars. It is also important in relationships.
When it comes to our relationships, how biblically balanced are we? Are we firing on all cylinders, or just wobbling along?
In Luke 6:12-19, we get a snapshot of the three essential relationships of Jesus’ life and ministry. In verse 12, we see Him taking time to nurture His “upward” relationship with God. In verses 13-16, we see Him choosing to live “in” a purpose-filled fellowship, not isolation. In verses 17-19, we see Him focus “outwardly” on loving others in need. These three relationships were the constant core of Jesus’ ministry, and have remained the constant core for His people today (Acts 2:42-47). Authors Mike Breen and Steve Cockram refer to these three relationships (UP, IN, and OUT) as “The Triangle” for deeper relationships in their book, Building a Discipling Culture. When our lives have balance in these three areas, we can develop much fruit for the Kingdom of God!
So how’s your triangle look? Most people (and churches) tend to excel in two out of three of these relationships, often naturally, while finding the third to be more difficult. Meat Loaf, the singer, would say “…two out of three ain’t bad…” To the Holy Spirit, however, it’s spiritually debilitating. It’s time for us to kick the tar off the tires and start living life in 3-D!