While in college I heard a sermon by Bruce Wilkinson that deeply impacted my life. I don’t remember the details of the sermon, but the key principles have helped me stay focused in my Christian life.
Try to imagine three chairs, side by side, on a stage.
Each of the three chairs represents a different type of person and faith, three different levels of commitment toward God. Every person reading this is sitting in one of the chairs. My goal is to help you recognize which chair you are sitting in and the results of that position. You can always decide where you want to sit. But you cannot decide the consequences of that decision.
The first chair person is a believer in Jesus, but has gone beyond accepting the gift of salvation to willfully being under Christi’s authority and direction. This person knows the Lord as a personal friend and Savior, and is developing a meaningful and growing relationship with Him for himself and those he’s responsible for. They are deeply committed to Jesus Christ in all they do.
The second chair represents someone who has received new life in Christ but hasn’t decided how little or much they will follow Him. He claims to believe all the same truths as someone in the first chair, follows the Christian ‘lifestyle’ in many outward ways, and usually has the best intentions. But instability and inconsistency mark his course.
Children who grow up in a Christian home tend to sit in Chair Two. Also, it is easy for Christians to slide from Chair One to Chair Two.
The third chair stands for someone who has not responded personally to God. A third chair person may have always known he wasn’t a Christian, or may be confused about his spiritual state. Especially if he has grown up in a Christian family surrounded by God-talk, he may look, act, feel, and think like Christians – almost. But a gulf of sin and rebellion lies between him and God. Until he repents of his sin and surrenders to Jesus Christ for salvation, he is at odds with his Creator and his purpose in life.
A person who grows up in the home of Chair Two parents tends to sit in Chair Three. Having seen Christianity in name only, they reject it as they get older.
We find several Biblical example of this downward spiritual trend: Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob. David, Solomon & Rehoboam. But one key example is the generations of and following Joshua.
And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. So the people answered and said: Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods… So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel…. When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. (Judges 24:15-16; Judges 2:7, 10)
First Chair: Joshua knew God and His works.
Second Chair: The elders knew about God and His works.
Third Chair: The children of the elders did not know God nor His works.
By far the highest percentage of today’s church-attending Christians are, in my opinion, stuck in the second chair. I can tell you from personal experience that the most unhappy, frustrated, stressed and disillusioned people in the world aren’t nonChristians as you might expect, but second chair people who know Christ yet who fight Him and His leadership for years and even decades.
Choose today to sit in Chair One!