I sometimes run into people who ask hard questions about God, life & the Bible. They doubt the existence of God. They deny the authority of the Bible. They believe that what works for one person may not work for another and they think it’s best for people to just live their lives however they want and leave one another alone. Our knee jerk reaction may sound like, “How dare you!?” or “You’ve got to be kidding me!” But the reality is these are the questions on the hearts of people today. They are not questions rooted in rebellion, rather they are founded in a sincere, if not misguided, quest for spiritual truth.
I’ve always found it interesting that the writers of the Declaration of Independence saw fit to include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness together as one’s unalienable rights. Life and liberty make sense to me, but the pursuit of happiness seems terribly foolish. I’m hungry right now. I’m not sure which pursuit would make me happier, to eat a cheeseburger or a chicken sandwich. Perhaps I should skip the main course all together and go straight to dessert. What makes me happy today will not likely please me tomorrow. And so, with daily uncertainty and a life long apprehension I pursue the fleeting and fickle reward that is genuine happiness.
I think this example cuts to the core of these questions about whether or not God, Jesus and the Bible are relevant to everyone. What is the primary goal of life? What is the chief end of man? If happiness is the goal then many roads will take you there and just as quickly slip out from under your feet. If happiness is the goal then certainly what works for you will not work for me. You’re a little bit country. I’m a little bit rock and roll. So if happiness is the goal your music is not relevant to me. And besides I’ve already changed my mind…today I’d rather listen to some cool jazz. If I can’t tell you from moment to moment what will make me happy then how can any system of belief change my life? How could any prayer possibly work? I don’t know what to ask for. I don’t know who to ask. Inside my own head I can’t really decide what’s important. I’ve chosen the cheeseburger so I know that right now I’m content, but I’m only a few bites away from needing a milkshake. I don’t have one of those. So now I’m not happy. This whole cheeseburger theology must not really work. I should have picked the chicken sandwich instead.
The issue of relevance and relativism has a lot more to do with DESTINATION and PURPOSE than PRINCIPLES and PRECEPTS.
Without a clear understanding of the purpose and destination of life it makes complete sense to believe that what works for one person may not work for another. Without clear direction it is reasonable to assume that all religions help people equally because all religions provide some sense of purpose. So how does one determine their destination or discover their purpose? How do you know what’s relevant and what’s not?
First, the answer must come from outside of ME. We’ve already established that when it comes to happiness I’m a manic depressive, schizophrenic! I wouldn’t know what ‘worked’ if I hand picked it myself. Real purpose comes from living beyond myself.
Second, the answer must be universal. What good is an answer that only works for me? Think about math for a minute. The only reason we have any miracles of modern technology is because 2 + 2 always equals 4! Out from this simple math grows complex equations that allow engineers more brilliant than I to produce the amazing gadgets we use everyday. Math is a universal language that provides answers that work universally. The same is true spiritually. Too many people feel like their lives just don’t add up. It’s because they don’t understand the math. There is a right purpose, a right plan and a right path. There is a right way. We know there must be because everyone is pursuing it. If there weren’t we wouldn’t even be asking the question.
Finally, I’ve found the answer. My story reflects a life changed by belief. I am living proof that what I believe helps with my pain and leads to lasting joy rather than temporary happiness. It will work for you because it’s worked for others and because you were designed to work this way. Jesus is the critical element because, just like the math above, He is the formula that makes the equation of your life work. You know that not all religions work. You know because you’ve seen them fall apart all around you. Technically, no religion has ever worked. We weren’t designed to be religious. We were designed to have a relationship with God himself! Live life God’s way and discover a life that works.
In so many ways our forefathers got it right when they signed, sealed and delivered the Declaration of Independence. But when it comes to the pursuit of happiness, there’s only one way. It’s the way to real freedom.
THANKS, for reading!