The 3 Chairs

One of my favorite ways to illustrate humanity’s worldview is to put three chairs on a stage to represent three kinds of people. When I am teaching on this, I set up three chairs on the stage and say that out of the seven-plus billion people in the world, every single one of them is living his or her life from one of these chairs. Chair 1 is about the kingdom of God, Chair 2 is the kingdom of self, and Chair 3 is the kingdom of the world. 


In Chair 1, you realize the kingdom is not about the things of this world, so your focus is never on problems but always on kingdom opportunities.

Christians are in Chairs 1 and 2. If you are living in either of those chairs, you are saved. But there are many differences between Chair 1 and Chair 2. Most Christians live from Chair 2, even if they have visited Chair 1 at times. Chair 1 is a beautiful place to be. Those who live from that place are rooted in the spirit of sonship, which we talk about quite a bit in this book. Chair I is about experiencing God’s pleasure without ever having to perform. In fact, you already have an A + on your report card before you ever go out and do something. In Chair 1 you live from a place of total rest. The Dove, the Holy Spirit, comes to rest on you; you become His habitation. You can hear the Father’s voice as a son or daughter and trust that He is able to guide you. You know you belong,  so you can believe God’s promises and then behave as He has called you to do —  you learn to put “be” “ have” and “do” in the right order. You know who you are and then you live from your inheritance and walk out your destiny too. You aren’t trying to get from earth to heaven but also want to bring heaven to earth. You can live as a river overflowing righteousness peace, and joy in the Spirit (Romans 14:17), overwhelmed with the things of God, because that is the atmosphere of the kingdom.


In Chair 2, you have a tendency to live for God rather than living from God because you have become rooted in the orphan spirit rather than a spirit of sonship.

Chair 2 is the kingdom of self. Most people don’t think Chair 2 describes their worldview because they don’t recognize the subtle differences. We have all been Chair 2 Christians at times, and we can easily slip from Chair I into Chair 2 thinking at any point in our lives. But over time, we learn to see the difference. You are always under pressure to perform because it’s what you do that makes you who you are. You experience the Holy Spirit’s visitation but not His habitation as the Dove resting on you. Instead of confidently hearing God’s voice, you try to discern His will while fearing you might be misled by self or the devil. Instead of being a son or daughter in order to have and then do, Chair 2 believers are trying to believe the right way in order to behave the right way in order to belong. You try to live from inheritance and destiny so you can know who you are rather than the other way around. You’re alway trying to become something because you don’t know or have forgotten your true identity. You’re trying to get to heaven rather than trying to bring heaven to earth. 

 Chair 2 Christians often talk about how bad things are getting and how God’s judgment is coming on this problem or that city. They are like the disciples who wanted to call down judgment on a Samaritan town that did not receive Jesus (Luke 9:54). Jesus rebuked them because He came to bring life not destroy it. Those in Chairs 2 are both afraid of the world and influenced by it because the perspective is that if you don’t separate from the world, you will be corrupted by it. If you touch a leper, literally or figuratively, you become unclean. Everything in Chair 2 is rooted in fear, even when it is disguised in the vocabulary of love.

I am convinced that much of the church is living from Chair 2 and doing ministry from that perspective – not motivated by love but by fear. They serve not because of their significance as sons and daughters in the kingdom but in order to become someone significant in the kingdom. They work not from God but for Him. Hundreds of thousands of churches are filled with Chair 2 people who know about the Father but don’t actually find their identity in Him or make their home in His living room. They function as spiritual orphanages.

The Chair 2 perspective is always thinking about self. Why didn’t I get blessed the way that other person did? Lord, what are You going to do for me? Once when Lenny LeBlanc and I were ministering together, I adapted his beautiful worship song “There Is None Like You” into a Chair 2 version:  “There Is None Like Me”! That’s the focus of a Chair 2 position. I’ve had people tell me they came to hear me speak but didn’t like having to sit through two hours of worship. “That’s okay,” I say. “It wasn’t for you. It was for Him.” An orphan spirit says, “I didn’t get what I needed! Where is it!?” For many of us, Chair 2 has become normal, but it is actually abnormal in the kingdom. Jesus is normal. In the kingdom, anything that does not look like Him is not.


If you are living in Chair 3, you are lost. That is the world system apart from Jesus, outside of the kingdom of God. It includes 1.6 billion Muslims, more than a billion Hindus, and nearly half a billion Buddhists, as well as atheists, agnostics, and every other non-Christian. Every one of these people are looking for love, security, value, significance, and purpose. It’s in our DNA as human beings. But they aren’t able to find these things, whether they are looking in religion, money, accomplishments, or anything else. I believe the biggest god in the world right now is money, regardless of the religion of the people seeking it. Whatever people serve, that’s what they worship. – Excerpt from Called to Reign

Which chair are you sitting in? What are some of the things that are keeping you from the rest of the Father? Jesus maintained His rest in His identity and you can reign in life with Him from this place. This is your privilege as a son or daughter of God. Don’t wait, receive this invitation from Papa God today.

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