Mark Affleck

An Ugly Yellow Chair Nearly Destroyed My Faith Walk

April 23, 2017
Spiritual Growth

This yellow chair metaphor has profoundly and positively impacted my life as a believer. I pray that it will do the same for you, too.
I learned about yellow chairs from my engineer father while growing up in the suburban idyll of San Francisco’s East Bay. He used the term any time a person was falling short of their goal or potential.
The story would always start with a person who inherited grandma’s yellow chair, an ugly heirloom from another era.  That chair makes decorating a room to its full potential impossible because it dictates every element in the room and how they are positioned.
The story continues with predictable redecorating plans. New carpet and paint. More accessories. But every attempt will fail if the yellow chair remains.
Spiritual yellow chairs are anything in our life that we “decorate” around and keep the room–our walk with Christ–from being fully surrendered and committed to his purpose for our life. They are the habits, sins, fears, attitudes, doubts, addictions, behaviors, and false narratives playing in our head.
But there is a HUGE DISTINCTION that makes the things mentioned above more than the “garden-variety” challenges that come and go in our faith journey. They become yellow chairs after being granted “PERMANENT” residence and evolving into life-long struggles that become uniquely our own.
Even if we have surrendered our life to Christ, yellow chairs can still get established when we insist on protecting and “decorating around” one part of our life. This happens while we are walking with God and then sneak in something like this: “Thank you God for what you are doing in my life, but please don’t touch this one thing, I like it too much. But everything else is solid, Lord, I promise.”
The yellow chair has just been ushered into the room.
The way I attack yellow chairs might surprise you. No dynamite. No execution. No trips to the dump. None of that. It’s a two-step process:
The first step to leaving spiritual yellow chairs in the rear-view mirror comes from establishing spiritual discipline and intimacy with Christ on a consistent basis, day in and day out. This responsibility takes our laser focus on living a Christ-like life that is driven by the habits of a disciple—God’s Word; Prayer; Tithing; and Fellowship.
“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” 1 Peter 2:2-3
The surrender of our yellow chair must be specific and not bundled with others in a generic prayer that asks God to “forgive me for ALL my…”
“You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins.  Confess them and give them up.  Then God will show mercy to you.” Proverbs 28:13
Give it a try. Start by identifying your yellow chair. Then think of one step, however tiny and seemingly insignificant, you can take today that would get you started toward its removal?
Here’s the encouragement I always have top-of-mind: God wants us to give him our spiritual yellow chair then pray for a lifetime that we leave it in storage.

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