My Three legged “Faith Stool”
When we moved to our current town the ladies in my Bible Study gave me a gift. It was a voucher for a local Hardware store. Not your usual Bible Study Leader farewell gift perhaps but the ladies knew me well and understood my love for upcycling and “redeeming” the broken and unwanted of the furniture world. At the same time one of the ladies shared with me that she really wanted to find me a 3 legged stool to go with it but hadn’t been able to.
Why a 3 Legged Stool?
All through the years as we met together for study one of my favourite analogies for a strong, unshakeable faith, had been a 3 legged stool. I had obviously used it quite a lot – enough for her to want to highlight it in their farewell gift anyway. I don’t remember when I first heard it but I think it may have been in a series of talks Susan Hunt did here in New Zealand years ago. If you google 3 legged stool you will see that this isn’t a unique idea…many people have taken it and applied ideas like stability and balance and the necessity of each leg to a variety of different circumstances. In my own case the 3 legs of my stool have these three “foundations”.
God is GOOD
If we understand and believe that GOD IS GOOD then we will be humble before Him. We will not be tempted to judge Him or wonder if perhaps, in this particular case, He is being unjust or malicious.
God LOVES ME
If we understand and believe that GOD LOVES ME then we will believe that the things He brings into our lives are for our good, to bless us, and to bring about what is best for us.
God is IN CONTROL
If we understand and believe that God is IN CONTROL then we will not wonder if He was asleep, or if He was taken by surprise or perhaps even overcome by the things in my life. We will realise that He is fully able to bring about what is good and what is best for me.
Why are these three truths so important?
Throughout Scripture we see that Satan’s great desire is to test our faith in God and find it wanting. Again and again he presents God’s people with lies about God and circumstances which tempt people to doubt Him.
We see in the garden of Eden Eve listening to Satan’s words and believing that God would withhold something that would be good for her. Questioning His perfect love for her. How do we know? Her actions revealed what she believed. She believed that God was not acting for her good, so she took it into her head to take what she believed would be good for her, her own way. (Gen 3: 1-7)
We see in the life of Job Satan’s accusation that Job only followed God because of His abundance. He tried to get Him to doubt God’s goodness. Job stood firm in a way I wonder if I could. After losing so much and being tempted to judge God’s goodness, he still replied, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” (Job 1:21)
We see Joseph, betrayed by his brothers and sold into a life of slavery and indignity, working with diligence and trusting God. He was eventually enabled to declare to His brother’s, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Gen 50:20) His willingness to forgive revealed His belief that God was indeed the author of His circumstances and intended them for good, no matter how bad they may seem.
How do These Truths Impact ME?
While I do not consciously bring these truths to mind every day, the fact that I believe them at very foundation of my faith impacts my actions and reactions constantly. I cannot decide to be at peace when trials come, but if I believed these three truths fully, then I would be at peace, just as Jesus was in the bottom of the boat that day. His sleep was not just the result of exhaustion. It was a fruit of His total trust of His Father.(Matthew 8:23-27)
If I believe these truths then “ill gotten gains” would not hold any appeal. I would truly believe that God will provide what I need. If I believed these truths then I would not get angry at unwanted interruptions to my day. I would trust that God has a purpose in them, and look for His good provision of the time and resources I need to fulfill my responsibilities in some other way.
What if we fail to believe?
So what if you are like me? What if you don’t always have peace? What if you choose the shortcut to something, even though God has given you a better way? What if you do get angry, or bitter, or just plain impatient? What happens when our actions reveal that we don’t truly believe these 3 things about God? Do we resolve to do better? Beat ourselves up over our failure? Get angry at someone else and blame them for our failure? Ignore it and hope it goes away? Give up?
NO!!! We have to come back to those truths. We have to believe that GOD IS GOOD and cannot just sweep our failures to trust Him under the carpet …But… HE LOVES US, so He has provided a Saviour who takes that sin on His own back and calls us to come to Him for forgiveness. AND HE IS IN CONTROL. He has a plan for us. He will sovereignly use even our failures for our good and for the good of His people. It is these truths which will cause us to flee to Him and find forgiveness, peace and joy. We will be ready to go back out again. We will be strengthened to trust Him more fully next time.
Over the next few weeks I want to explore these truths in more depth. If you are keen to dig more deeply into these foundations, their applications to our faith, and the effects when any of them wobble, then check out the following posts:
SERIES: 3 Foundations of Faith – the 3 things I believe which keep my faith strong and stable
Do you struggle to trust God and have faith in His goodness, love and control? Which area do you struggle the most? How have others been able to encourage you in this area?
Love and Hugs,