The Challenge of 3D Living

A few years ago I heard Erwin McManus introduce the idea that most of us live one-dimensional lives in a 3-dimensional world.  We divide our lives into three spaces:

  • The 1st Space is where people are like you – you are the norm, the standard.  A place where few if any strangers or outsiders are allowed.
  • The 2nd Space is a place where not everyone is like you but you still have developed relationships.
  • The 3rd Space is a place where you have no relationships.  In fact you are the outsider, the strangers and it will be that way unless you are invited in.

As followers of Jesus it is too easy for us to live in the 1st Space, avoid the 2nd Space and never step foot in the 3rd Space.  Now here’s the challenge – if you want to see Jesus transform lives, families and our culture – most of that happens in the 3rd Space.

We see Jesus teaching and debating in the synagogue (1st Space).  We see Jesus engage people at work – the woman at the well, the fisherman (2nd Space) and then we see Jesus invited to the home of a tax collector, a Roman soldier by people who were not like him at all (3rd Space).

Jesus stepped through the relational and cultural comfort zones to engage and care for people and he asks us to do the same.


  • How can we care for people in their space instead of mashing them into ours?
  • When was the last time someone trusted you enough to invite you into their space?
  • Are you willing to leave the comfort of what you know…to engage people where they are as you live out the love of God?