The three-point stance is ” a stance used by linemen and running backs in American football when ready for the start of a play.” (WikipediA). This stance is taught to the youngest players because it gives stability in the crouched position as well as to “maximize the power on setoff”. (YouthFootballOnline.com) So it is, a way to prepare for what’s next with good stability in where you are.
A baby begins its life on its back in the hands of the physician or midwife. From that position, its mouth and nose can be wiped free of any fluid or mucus that was caught during delivery. Much of the first days of its life will be spent on the back or stomach. Eventually the child learns to roll from one position to the other. Later, with legs pulled under him, he will learn to creep or crawl. Next the child gains strength to pull himself to a standing position, but with one or both hands holding onto a table, a chair, or a couch. This is another example of the three-point stance: two feet firmly on the ground with a hand on a stable object to provide stability.
Any created object that must stand alone must have (at least) three points of contact with the ground to remain stable. Tripods are built to stabilize cameras, transits, telescopes, etc. The key word here is stabilize. With less than three points of contact with something solid, a stool will not stand. I am reminded of the stool I used as a boy to milk a cow. It was basically two short pieces of 2 x 4 fastened together to make a “T”. With the leg of the T on the ground, I sat on the cross piece with both feet on the ground, thus three points of contact. It wasn’t particularly stable, but it did the job for a short period. A three-legged stool would have been better.
About two years ago my doctor said I needed to start walking with a cane because my balance was declining and I had become a fall risk. Of course, I resisted this advice. “After all, I”m not that old,” I thought to myself. But after several falls that were a result of carelessness and simply not being aware of my environment, my wife finally convinced me I should start using a cane as a precaution. Then another doctor suggested I should use a four-footed cane or a walker because I was prone to trip due to a foot condition. Again I resisted, but soon realized a walker was a better, safer way to get around. You know, come to think of it, I’m right back to that three-point (or more) stance Idea: needing some point of support in addition to my own two legs to keep me stable. And when I’m just standing, I lean against a cabinet or wall, or even a pole to secure my position and provide the needed stability.
I got to thinking about the idea of “three” being the most stable support and wondered how this might apply to the Christian life. The first thing that came to mind was The Trinity: The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. Belief in all three personalities of God is needed to bring stability to the Christian Life. The Father is the creator; the one who envisioned the whole plan of the universe, and by speaking, he was able to create everything there is. The Son is his connection with mankind; the one who came as a man, yet was fully God as well as man. Without the son’s death on the cross (in our place) our sins would eventually bring judgement and condemnation. The Spirit’s job is to live within the believer and to serve as a guide as we make our daily choices in life. Like the tripod, if we have all three legs or persons of God to live within us, we have stability and feel secure. Remove faith in any one of them, leaves only two legs to stand on, and the stability is gone.
Another Biblical application of the three parts is a look at who man was created to be. Each of us has a body, soul, and a spirit. Our body is that material part of our being. It is able move about in God’s created world. It has all the organs needed for life, the sense organs, and the ability to make sounds for communication. Our soul is that part of us that brings life to the body. The soul is that innermost part of us, made up of the mind and the heart. Our mind is that creative part of man which, like the Father, is able to create, to refine, to decide. Our soul is that part that, like Jesus, that is able to feel, to care, to hold, to bring healing. The soul is that part which helps us to connect with other parts of God’s creation. We form connections with beauty, with joy, with pain, and with hope and despair. We reach out to others, and we look for others to reach out to us. And finally, man’s spirit is that part of him, though invisible, is joined to God’s spirit. All of these parts of man’s existence are needed to complete the person. The person is thus made in God’s image. Lacking any one of these three parts causes death. Physical or spiritual death.
Another three point stance relates to our faith as a Christian. We must believe in the three events in Jesus’ life which are essential for redemption and restoration in God’s future kingdom. We must first believe in Jesus’ death on the cross and its necessity for our forgiveness and restoration as one of his children. We must believe that, according to his plan, Christ arose from the grave, victorious over sin and death. And we must finally believe in his ascension into heaven, where he lives at the right hand of the Father. We too will one day repeat this process, giving up our physical bodies for new, eternally restored and renewed ones that will allow us to live eternally in God’s presence. Jesus’ body had to die and be buried in the earth, then be resurrected to new life and be seen by many. Finally, the completed cycle will one day repeat when we who believe in Him are gathered around Him in our new bodies to live forever!
Can you think of other instances in the scriptures where three points were necessary for God’s plan to be complete? If so, please share them by leaving a reply below.