Nothing in the arsenal of human resources has more power to influence every aspect of our lives or more potential to affect the world around us than our capacity to believe. What we believe, and the degree to which that belief is genuine, will have more impact on us—whether for good or evil—than any other ability we possess. Yet in spite of that, the subject rarely gets the direct attention it deserves, and the culture surrounding us actively promotes some tragic ‘upside down thinking’ regarding the direction of this profound capacity. Because of that, in the struggle to identify those things that are ‘vital’ in life, our beliefs are often relegated to some obscure, obtuse category; and though the issue may be considered psychologically intriguing, for all too many, it remains religiously isolated and pragmatically irrelevant. The power to believe certainly doesn’t rank up there with such significant issues of life as our IQ, our financial status, or how our hair looks.
What We Believe Determines Everything ~
Identifying which things among life’s priority choices are really the most important and evaluating where they fit in our lives can be challenging. The popular culture’s values —money, power, recognition, adoration, unbridled sexual license, and freedom from boundaries and accountability — are continuously promoted as sources of consummate fulfillment regardless of the total lack of supportive evidence. Those who hold those values reach out every day in a bid to capture our attention and forge an inroad to our decision-making apparatus. If they can influence what we think and what we feel, they have an access point through which to invade and secure the most vital territory we have — what we believe. Whoever owns that territory basically owns us, because the things we believe will ultimately determine how we act and how we conduct life. We’re told that life’s major objectives, like happiness, success, and prosperity, can be ensured if we simply do certain things. Love, adoration, universal acceptance, and financial success can be ours if only we wear these clothes, apply this makeup, use this shampoo, drive this car, and have this credit card in our wallet. To say the least, the path to ultimate fulfillment in America seems confusing and runs in a lot of different directions.
A Path With a Dead End ~
Every path to fulfillment the world offers eventually leads to this unavoidable conclusion. The very life they promise to fulfill is doomed from the beginning. Those who believe that the world’s values lead to some personal utopia sooner or later discover that what was promised cannot be produced. The things offered as fulfillment turn out to be hollow and transient, but there’s also another problem. They want us to believe that fulfillment depends entirely on human effort and accomplishment, meaning that all those unable to achieve or acquire those necessary elements would be eliminated. In spite of that, multitudes blindly believe the promises and struggle through life in the vain hope they can be one of the ‘winners’.
Jesus — A Shocking Contrast ~
What a stark contrast Jesus Christ represents to all of that. There is no state of fulfillment that could ever surpass what He offers — a condition in which every flaw is removed, every defect corrected, all negative influences eliminated, and the cessation of life itself is rendered impossible. That is the kind of fulfillment that Jesus came to secure. The world’s offerings are never available to everyone because they require efforts that are limited to those with certain abilities. The consummate, eternal fulfillment Jesus promised is offered to everyone. There are no innate abilities or impassioned efforts required, just the simple application of our power to believe.
No Call for Blind Faith from Jesus ~
The only call to faith that is ‘blind’ comes from a world whose values are empty and whose promises are doomed to failure. Jesus doesn’t want blind trust. He challenges us to come to Him with life’s hard questions in hand and our eyes wide open—no coercion, no deception, no sensual allurements—just truth about who we are, who He is, and what life is really about. Jesus’ words, His life, His death, and His resurrection call us to open our eyes, not close them, and to abandon the vacuous promises of the world that trap us in a hopeless rat maze that ends in frustration and death. The faith He calls us to isn’t blind at all. It allows us to see the only way out.
The blind are always more at risk than those who can see, and nowhere is that truer than the case of those who blindly believe without examining the basis of that belief. We don’t receive everything God has promised immediately, but for those who believe, there’s enough fulfillment here and now for us to confidently expect that everything else will ultimately follow.
© 2017 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
To follow this blog for more ‘Right Side Up Thinking ~ In an Upside Down World’, sign up just below the Search box in the upper right sidebar for regular email notifications of new posts.