Author: Ron Graham
Shapes of the Christian Life
—Triangle, square, circle, and cross.
In this lesson we relate the Christian life and faith to four simple shapes. Are you intrigued?
1Corinthians 13:13, 1Thessalonians 1:3
The triangle is the simplest of shapes made with straight sides. There are three simple sides to the Christian faith: "faith, hope, and love, these three, and the greatest of these is love" (1Corinthians 13:13).
It is through “these three”, that we work with Christ and through Christ. We translate them into a "work of faith, labor of love, and endurance of hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ" (1Thessalonians 1:3).
The square is a symbol of rightness, and we call its angles right angles. When I was younger, in the “Hippie” era of last century, people used to describe as “square” anything bounded by rules or requiring straight behaviour. People would draw a square in the air with two index fingers when they encountered anything they thought to be regimented or disciplined.
Christianity is square. After speaking of the triangle (Colossians 1:4-5), Paul goes on to say, "Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please him in everything. Bear fruit in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God..." (Colossians 1:10-11).
Christianity is discipleship and that requires discipline. Yes, like it or lump it, true Christianity is as much square as it is triangular.
The circle is an interesting shape because it appears to have no corners or sides. Mathematicians might consider the circle to have an infinite number of corners and sides. Traditionally the circle, in the form of a ring, is regarded as a symbol of forever because it seems to have neither beginning nor end.
There is even a ring called an “eternity” ring —as a boy I thought it was a “maternity” ring but I'm older and wiser now. Though we, as mortals, contend with time, with beginnings and ends, we also as Christians enjoy access to the infinite and eternal realities —God and heaven.
In the triangle, love is greater because it is eternal, whereas faith and hope will one day be replaced by sight. Our lives touch eternity because we worship "the King eternal, immortal, invisible" (1Timothy 1:16-17).
The cross is, so to speak, the shape of Christ’s death and therefore the shape of our lives. Jesus died for our sins and therefore he is our Saviour. Without Christ’s death on the cross, and the resurrection that followed, we would have no hope of salvation or forgiveness. We are ever thankful that "he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:8).