Recall when you were going to school and had classes in geometry. (Yes, I can hear you groaning…but bear with me!) In geometry we learned about the shape of objects and learned to visualise them in one, two or three dimensions.
Two-dimensional items were flat and lifeless, being defined by only length and width. They were simple and…well…boring. They lacked solidity.
But by adding the third dimension, objects became real. Three dimensions bring objects to life because they give them depth.
Christians too, can sometimes become flat and lifeless. Like a 2-D drawing, they can lack depth.
What, Why and How
Unlike geometry, the dimensions of life and living are not length, width and depth. They are “what, why and how.” Without understanding all three of these, especially the “why” dimension, life can be flat, lifeless and meaningless.
The things we seek in our lives are the “what.” “What” is about our day to day activities to achieve certain things. For instance, we go to work (a what), we earn money (a what), we buy food, clothes and shelter, (three more what's). All of these things are “what” we seek to live our lives.
“How” is about the way we do these things. We may work in factories, offices, shops or online. “How” is the way we earn the money to buy the goods we need to live. And for each different “what” there may be many “hows.” For example, do we buy from a shop, order over the phone, shop online and so on.
“Why” is the most important of these three, because “why” gives the “what” and the “how” meaning and purpose. “Why” adds depth to what we do and how we do it. “Why” changes jobs into a career or a vocation. “Why” helps us decide to spend our finite resources to invest in our, or our family’s future rather than frittering it away on the latest gadgets, fads or fashion.
Putting it another way: “Why” empowers “How” to achieve “What.”
Faith, Hope and Love
This analogy of what, why and how also has a powerful link into our Christian walk. The Apostle Paul made this statement in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 13.
“So, faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Faith, hope and love link directly back into the concepts of what, why and how.
Paul shows us clearly that the most important of these three is love, because only love lasts into eternity.
God is love, and the work of the Holy Spirit in Christians is to transform each of us into the image of Jesus Christ, who bears the stamp of the God the Father’s nature. Because God is eternal, then love is eternal because God is love.
Linking this to the concepts of what, why and how, “Love” is the “what.” Love is what we are seeking to become as we walk with Christ. Love is what we are learning day by day as we draw nearer to Christ. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to live in love as Christ lived. Love is our aim, as Paul shows us in the first verse of 1 Corinthians chapter 14. So love is the “what.”
The “how” in this case is faith. We walk by faith in Jesus Christ, and all of the gifts and blessings of God are received only through and by faith. We cannot walk with Christ if we do not have faith to believe in Him and His message of salvation. It is only by faith that we are able to stand in the presence of God in this time. So, faith is the “how.”
But without the “why” dimension, our Christian life will be flat, dull and lifeless. I see many Christians, and non-Christians, who live dull, flat lives because they have not discovered their “why,” and oddly enough, the “why” for both Christians and non-Christians is the same.
The “why” every person needs to find is “hope.”
Without love, people become hard and bitter. Without faith, people become cynical. Without hope, life is flat and meaningless, and people give up. Addictions, suicides, opting out on life, accepting mediocrity, and just plain giving up are all caused by a lack of hope. People who live flat, dull, meaningless lives do so for lack of hope.
Hope is future oriented. Hope gets us out of bed in the morning. Hope helps us see what “can be” regardless of “what is.” And as Christians, hope is our “why.” Thus…
Hope empowers faith to achieve love.
Consider these things to find your what, why and how through faith, hope and love to become both a three-dimensional person and a three-dimensional Christian.
Since retiring from work, John Lemmon now spends his time teaching, preaching and writing about the word of God, online and offline, answering God's call on him to “Speak to my people.” John is the author of a number of Christian eBooks, which can be downloaded for free on his website at http://freegiftfromgod.com/my-ebooks/. You can connect with John on Twitter (@JohnBLemmon) or on his website: freegiftfromgod.com/