I once looked up the Greek definition of the word "Believe" and the first example was "adhere to or to cleave to". I thought this was quite interesting and thought of the above illustration.
In the scetch, the airplane represents perfection and the door is free choice, to commit one sin is like jumping out of the airplane. Just as the law of gravity would mean sure death, likewise, the wages of sin is death. Since we've all been selfish from the get-go, all we know is the falling, this is our life.
Now though we are all falling, some don't believe in the law of gravity, they say truth is relative, but reality is reality no matter what one believes. Some are all about having fun and are sky-driving and flipping around making the most of it. Some notice they are falling and turn to religion, which is like spreading out their arms, yet they too will hit the ground and die. Some are taught that all they have to do is acknowledge that there is a man out there who has a parachute and they will be fine, so they have false assurance that they're alright, but their beliefs won't change anything.
But there is one Man who has a parachute, who symbolizes Jesus. The only way to be saved is to cling to Him, which is the true meaning of believe. Yet how can we cleave to him, if we have our arms full of stuff and possessions? Can we cling to other people and cling to him at the same time? The only way to cling to Christ is to let go of everything else. Paul said "I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and consider it all dung, that I may gain Christ". Jesus said "if you do not forsake all and deny yourselves, then you cannot be My disciple" This is the cost of believing in Jesus, but He is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father but through Him. Jesus said, "He who tries to find his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake, will find it" If we humble ourselves, surrender and lay down our rights; making Him our Master and Lord, we will be able to enter into a relationship with the most beautiful, creative, wise and Awesome Being in the universe, who passionately loves us.
"for God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whosoever would believe in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him" John 3:16-17
So much of modern Christianity is rooted in Greek thinking; I've heard in Greek thinking all that matter is knowing the right things, but Hebrew thinking assumes that "to know and not to do, is to not yet know" For example according to Hebrew thinking, you do not believe Jesus died, was buried and rose again, unless you die to sin, bury it and leave it behind and then walk in the newness of life through Christ. If we do not DO these things, then we don't believe. The biblical meaning of believe is not a mere mental acknowledgment of past facts.
Is getting married something a wise person does without any thought?! What happens when a man chooses to get married? He decides to say no to every other girl in the world, and commit himself to one. There is the commitment to be faithful to her, to love and seek her highest good. This is a serious choice and a commitment not to be taken lightly!
Now entering into a relationship with God is similar, we must choose to make Him our ultimate love and we must commit to be faithful to Him and seek to please Him our whole life! Jesus died so we could be reconciled with a holy and perfect God. Though we could never earn or merit the right of being in a relationship with Him, the relationship by its nature is very costly and not something we can just flippantly or casually enter into!
Imagine if you asked a girl to marry you, while at the same time you insisted on having intimate relationships with other girls? Would she say yes? I hope not! Why would she want to be just one of the many girls you use to gratify your lust! So now, think about it, would a wise and all knowing God enter into relationship with you if you want to continue flirting and having intimate relations with the sinful things of the world? NO!
God is the most loving, wise and trustworthy being in the universe. You can trust Him to do the highest and most loving thing. He is for you and not against you and longs for you to enter into a relationship with Himself. Yet He will not commit Himself to you unless you are willing to commit to Him no matter what; richer or poorer, sickness or health, through good times and bad, no matter what He is worthy, he has a right to your life. He is God and we are not. Therefore,"relationship" with God is fictional if we're living our life like we're god.
I remember seeing Billboards, with a Marine on it and by him was printed “We don't accept applications, ONLY COMMITMENTS”. Though it does not cost you anything to joined the marines, (The government will even pay your plane ride to boot-camp) once you join it cost you everything. They decide what you will do, there is no making deals with them, either you're all in, or not at all. They won't let you work part time at McDonalds while in bootcamp!
Likewise, it's is free to enter into a relationship with God and He will take us as we are, but have we considered what we are entering into? We are saying yes to relationship and guess who we are entering into a relationship with?! The God Almighty, creator of the Universe, The King of kings and Lord of lords, if you clam to know Him and yet He is not your Lord, then you're deceiving yourself. Imagine someone who never went through boot-camp going around claiming he is a marine! Claiming you're one, does not mean you are!
Now why do you think the Marine billboard said “they only take commitments?” it's because this is the necessary condition of joining the marines. You must surrender, lay down all your rights and allow a drill-sergeant tell you what to do. You had a say in joining the marines, but after joining, you lose your say, you no longer get to negotiate, but they tell you what to do! Now why do you think few join the marines? People know there is a great cost and a serious commitment to do so!
Now do you see the parallel I am making?! Does God expect less then the Marines expect of those who enlist? I don't think so! Jesus said if you aren't willing to die to yourself and pick up your cross and follow Him, you could not be His disciple. If you are not willing to lay down your rights and make Him Boss, giving Him the FULL right to run your life. Then No, sorry... you may not be a Christian. Now do you see why it is a serious matter becoming a Christian! Does it now make sense why Jesus said, gate is narrow and few enter it? Few want to give up their rights, but Jesus makes it clear we cannot be his disciples if we don't do just that.
Now what if people went around trying to recruit young naïve men to the Marines, giving them the impression it was a vacation summer camp, a free ride through college and a place to have a good time.
Would this be honest? Well, I am afraid this is the very kind of thing the church has done, making people think becoming a Christian is nothing more then praying the magical formula and then maybe going to church on sunday. As a result of this, people have thought they became Christians, and yet never really entered into a relationship with God.
Now understand I am not teaching that salvation is by works! Or that you must earn your salvation. Making God first does not make you a Christian, but it makes you savable. It makes it where God can wisely and lovingly save you and be in an intimate relationship with you. Now think with me. If God is not supreme, that means that something else that is worthless, and without ultimate value is the idol of your heart! This means You have no place for Him. If you want God to come in, you must make room for Him, get off the throne and let Him on it, get out of the driver seat and invite the Lord to take it!!!
But a metaphor can only go so far, There is a huge contrast from how Jesus exercises authority, and how the typical drill-sergeant does! In many ways becoming a Christian is not like joining the marines, the point of the example I just shared is to emphasize the rule of commitment. In this regard God expects no less, He demands total surrender to Himself. But yeah, its good to remember Jesus rules by loving influence, not by screaming, fear and force. He is no ego-driven, power-trippen jerk who rules through fear and force.
Sadly, few non-Christians have known a believer who has a truly beautiful relationship with God. But rather, their experience with the church and other so called Christians has been anything but positive. These bad experiences form a wall keeping them from being able to see the loveliness of relationship with God. Also, we have the media and popular culture that paints an unfavorable portrait of Christians, which colors peope's perception and blinds them from the truth.
The words printed upon the church building represent these bad experiences and assumptions concerning the church and Christians, this forms a wall that blinds them from seeing the beauty of God’s character and purposes. Then we see the world has its own set of signs all promising fulfillment and happiness. Understandably people are going that way, its the logical thing to do due to what they can see. Even the people in the church are going out the side door and going back to the world because they've not experienced the fulness of relationship with God, coming from surrending ones life and making Him Lord.
But some are lead beyond this wall to see genuine Christianity by those who have had a transformative relationship with God. I have experienced people who truly know God, they're humble, kind, honest, gentle and generous add they have a love and interest in people. They have a wisdom, joy and quality of life that shows God to be attractive. These people show it's worth laying down our rights, so we can know him. They show God is the ultimate treasure, and a relationship with Him is worth more then all the world has offer.
Why should you become a Christian? God has a right to your life! Uh... you may ask “Why? How is it that some dude who supposedly created the universe has a right to my life? Even if He loves me, why am I obligated to return this love? What makes Him ruler and master? Why should I surrender and make Him Lord?” These are good questions.
C. S Lewis wrote: “One of the things my conscience tells me is that if there exists an absolutely wise and good Person, I owe Him obedience, specially when that Person, as the ground of my existence, has a kind of paternal claim on me, and, as a benefactor, has a claim on my gratitude.”
If its true that our existence is dependent upon the good graces of God, and that at present, we're moral beings. Then it seems only proper to acknowledge him, we'd owe him as at least as much honor and gratitude as our mother! If its true that the reason He created humans is that they'd be in a relationship with Himself and that He designed the proper function of man's mental facilities to arrive at truth, then we ought to enter a relationship with Him and affirm truth. If God does have a right to us, an ownership of sorts and thus our mental facilities are a gift from him, then it follows that there are relational obligations. If my dad allows me to borrow his car, my putting oil in the gas department is not just unwise, but morally wrong if I know its contrary to the cars design.
When I think about obligation, it makes the most sense to me in either a relational context (We ought not hurt or offend other people) or in a proper function context (We ought not put oil in the gas department of the car). Now either, “Ought” is merely a social construct; a lucky accident of evolution, or when we dig down to the foundation, there is a relational obligation to God and a moral responsibility to function according to God's preordained purpose and design.