Core Convictions #3

11 Jul

I’ve been writing about my core convictions – the things that drive my actions, both in ministry and in my relationships. My third core conviction is: The people of the world are spiritually lost and their only hope is Jesus.

                This is an unpopular conviction to hold. It suggests that people everywhere, no matter how beautiful, brilliant, talented or famous, all share a trait – being lost. The Bible is clear that ALL have sinned and fallen short of God’s righteous standard. Not only have they fallen short, they are unable on their own to meet that standard no matter how many different paths they try. To be lost is to be unable to find one’s way. That’s our world. People everywhere are trying to make their way to peace, prosperity, safety and freedom but the things they chase after are the very things that deprive them of peace, freedom etc. No one wants to admit to being lost.

It’s the classic scene – Dad is driving the family someplace on their vacation and suggests a shortcut. Soon he is hopelessly turned around on back roads somewhere, unable to get back on track but unwilling to admit to being lost. Asking for directions is not an option. Smart, talented people don’t ask for directions. They know best. This is an apt description of our world. Spiritually, people are all over the map. If it’s not working for some man-made deity then it’s searching within oneself for strength and all the answers to life and success. Or it’s the godless religion of reason and science.

The second part of this conviction is even less popular – the hope of the world is Jesus. The idea that a 1st century Jewish man who taught people with fishing metaphors could be the Savior of mankind is laughable to cultural elites. “Put my faith in a man I’ve never met who did things I can’t verify, in a place I’ve never been, to purchase a forgiveness I don’t even need? Forget it!” But this sums up the essence of faith. We are trusting that God could accurately convey a life changing message over thousands of years through fallible men and women. The apostle Paul suggested that the message of the cross was foolishness to the world even though it was the wisdom of God. I don’t have space to go into all the reasons we can trust the Bible when it tells us who Jesus is or all the reasons we can believe in the existence of God. What I do have space to do is say that this conviction, though highly unpopular, is a life-driving conviction.

It means that every person I encounter is either lost or found. Every person is either a follower of Jesus or not. If they are lost, I have a responsibility to point them toward Jesus – to proclaim the message that He is their only hope. Convictions are valueless if they are not lived out. It does no good to say I believe something if I’m not willing to act on it. What about you? Could someone figure out your core convictions by looking at your life? And would they match what you say they are?

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