In 1912 Franz Reichelt sincerely believed he made a major breakthrough with his design of the parachute jacket. Indeed, he was sincere enough to test it himself by jumping off the Eiffel Tower. A large crowd gathered to witness the spectacle, and they learned an important lesson. Sincerity is admirable but it’s not the most important thing. Franz Reichelt dropped like a stone - to the ground and sadly to his death – because the fact is you can be sincerely wrong.
It’s interesting to note that we get this, at least in a physical context. If we experience troubling physical symptoms, we find little relief in the sincere reassurance of a friend: “Don’t worry, I’ve got a good feeling about this.” Instead, we want to talk to the right person who can diagnose the problem and prescribe the right solution. We are not seeking sincerity – we want to know the truth.
Yet, move from the physical realm into the spiritual realm and things get warm and fuzzy. Suddenly it’s okay to have things your own way, and it doesn’t really matter what you believe as long as you are sincere. Where does this idea come from?
I suggest two reasons.
First, many people don’t believe the spiritual or supernatural is real, so it doesn’t matter what you believe (or don’t believe). Sure, people make vague references to something “up there” or “beyond this” but their lives reveal the truth – this is it! If that’s the case, it really doesn’t matter what people believe as long as it makes them happy.
Second, the desire to believe what is true is overpowered by a determination to do what we want. There is a definite leaning toward recognising a supernatural being “out there” (e.g., to explain our origins, anchor morality, provide meaning, offer hope, etc.), but any being above and beyond us threatens to rule over us. So instead of embracing the God who made us in his image, we recreate god in our own image. This is the popular view of the “God” who just happens to like the things we like and dislike the things we don’t like.
The Bible teaches we cannot make God in our image. He beat us to it. We are made in God’s image, and life is about trusting him, being transformed by him, and totally depending upon him. The Bible is clear we live in a broken world and suffer from a physical and spiritual problem, and to save your life you must trust in the truth.
What does this look like?
John 14:6 “Jesus said, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus is the only way to God because he is God, and only by trusting in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can we be forgiven by God, brought back into a right relationship with God, and look forward to spending eternity with him.
Author and speaker.