Jesus Christ lived life in three dimensions:
- His life with God the Father (UP)
- His life with his disciples, and (IN)
- His life with the rest of the world (OUT)
This can be seen in Luke 6:12-19
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. (UP) When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (IN) He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all. (OUT)
As followers of Jesus Christ we also live our lives in three dimensions:
UP - with God, IN - with God's people, OUT - with the world around us. However, we tend to get out of balance by neglecting one or more of these dimensions. The triangle reminds us to evaluate these dimensions in our lives and make adjustments.
What the dimensions include:
UP - Life with God : our personal discipleship, worship, prayer, listening to God, growth in Christ-likeness etc.
IN - Life with God’s people: meeting with God’s people, caring for each other, celebrating together, and contributing your time gifts and talents to a local group of Christians
OUT - Life with the world around us: telling other people about Jesus, loving our neighbours and enemies, doing good through our work, volunteering and giving.
Using the Triangle
A simple way to use the triangle is to evaluate the strength of each dimension of your life. Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 for each dimension with 1 being very weak and 10 being very strong. Don’t use the number 5. You are not rating yourself compared to Jesus or other people, you are rating the dimensions relative to each other.
For example, you may rate yourself like this. In this case the weakest dimension is the OUT dimension. You can then spend some time thinking about why that might be the case and making some simple achievable plans to improve this dimension. This is an opportunity to use the learning circle process. (you can also think about improving the stronger dimensions as well!)
You can also use the triangle in group settings to evaluate your small group or congregation.