(2) I believe . . .

What I believe is very important, for one belief is not as good as another. If I grope my way in the dark to the medicine cabinet and take poison pills, believing them to be good for me, it’s disastrous! My utmost sincerity won’t save me. All accidents, failures, mistakes, and sins stem from faulty beliefs. Nobody can be one hundred percent certain about what to believe in most situations. I know so very little about this complicated. changing world. I just haven’t got time to obtain perfect knowledge about things before I act. I couldn’t possibly check over every detail about an aircraft, its crew, the weather, the airports, and other plane positions before going on board for a flight. I can only believe that someone entirely unknown to me has checked on everything. In fact, I must live every moment of every day in faith as everybody else does. There is no other way I can live. I have to get by on believing because I can never know for sure. This is especially true of my view of the world as a whole. Where do I fit into the scheme of things? What am I here for? What is expected of me? What will become of me? This kind of big question can be answered for me only by religious beliefs.

But what religious beliefs should I have? I certainly can’t be satisfied with explanations of the world which never rise to the level of some great personal purpose. But in whose purpose shall I believe? I’m used to believing experts, eyewitnesses, and properly accredited authorities. I need to find some acknowledged expert on living, someone men have really seen in action, whose way of life and beliefs were backed up by the highest known authority.

On this basis, I believe in Jesus of Nazareth. He was a real, historical man, whose sayings and deeds were endorsed by no less than the very power behind this universe. This world will not back up falsity and lies. Truth and reality go together. Unlike all other men who ever lived, this man’s life was not allowed to stay dead forever. Within three days he rose from the dead. The power that can defeat death so decisively must be the greatest power there is. This greatest of all authorities sustained Jesus through death. His life of loyalty to truth, his incomparable compassion obviously satisfied God—the first man who ever did so. I can base my ultimate faith, therefore, on this unique man who lives forever. Because I believe in him, I know what to believe. I can believe in what Jesus believed and said and did. Jesus believed and taught that he was what God had to say about men’s ultimate questions. So I believe that Jesus is my clue to the meaning of all things.

Now I know who I am. I am one who believes in the God who shines through Jesus. I belong to him. As a strangely shaped bar of metal takes on meaning only when it becomes a tool in the hands of a workman, so I get my meaning from the God who has me at his disposal. His purpose, declared in Jesus, is my purpose. The lives of wandering, purposeless men can take on deep meaning and significance when they are put back into the hands of God, where they always belonged.