The last two years have reminded us of many things, among them is the unmistakable reality that we all have authorities that we answer to in life. Whether it be the civil authority (government), educational authority (teachers), job authority (“boss”), etc., etc. For better or worse, we are entangled with people to whom we answer. More than that, there are even times we seek out and submit ourselves to certain authorities. For example, we submit to a mechanic that we believe will fix a broken car or a doctor to cure an ailing body. In both instances, we submit to people who are specialists in order to have a better life. Who doesn’t want to have a good, healthy, and productive life? In this regard, who wouldn’t want a specialist that provides meaning for living, shapes how we are to understand events in life, and act as an unshakable guide in everyday decisions? Let’s call this type of authority a “life authority.”
When it comes to this category, our options are minimal. Given the focal point of providing or maximizing “life,” the source must have a proven track record. The source must be time-tested with examples of people finding meaning for their lives, providing rock-solid insight for decision-making, and wisdom in relating to others. Each of these areas must be within its power and scope for the source to be a genuine “life authority.” Given these qualifications, our options for a life authority are reduced to a singular source, God.
Go Big or Go Home?
There is only one problem… and, at first glance, it is enormous. I can’t talk to God. I can’t email, call, text, and He doesn’t have a podcast to which I can subscribe. While talking to God would be ideal, I think this medium might also create a new problem… how do I KNOW it is God speaking? A blinding light or a booming voice might inspire, but couldn’t those be manufactured? Wouldn’t you be susceptible to questioning whether or not you were on a spiritual Truman Show? At first glance, a heavenly beam of light or thunderous celestial voice would motivate, but I don’t think that it (on its own) would be as helpful as we might think. Why? How often would the voice be required? If your life is like mine, you need guidance a lot. So how many times a day would the booming voice or blinding light be required? 5? 10? 20? More? Imagine your neighbor’s reaction to all the light and noise? What about all the other people who will require the same stimuli? The world would be transformed into an enormous rock show with continual sonic booms and flashes of light.
Where do I go from here?
Better than a booming voice and a blinding light, we have the self-disclosure of God as He interacted with people for some 3800 years. When you take a serious look at the Bible, it quickly reveals the content of who God is, who we are, and how life was designed to be lived. These truths are not presented in one enormous, majestic display in the sky but are revealed through God interacting with people over time. As a matter of fact, as God interacts with people, some embrace His authority, others resist, and still, others reject His authority entirely. I have been convinced that the Bible is God’s self-disclosure, a source that answers all the “big ticket” issues of life, but what about you? If God is the only one qualified to be a life authority, why not “kick the tires” and see what He has to say?
Where do I start?
The Bible is a big book with truckloads of information. But that makes sense given the length of time it deals with and the subject matter involved. Therefore, I recommend starting with examining the life of Jesus. Why? As John said, Jesus is a shortcut in getting to know who God is and how He relates to humanity:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
Therefore, if you want to know who God is, start with Jesus – the God/man who perfectly represents God in who He is and what He did. Don’t know if you can buy that? Have you examined the evidence? Given the stakes, you have everything to gain. When I was 19, full of questions and brimming with doubt, I am glad someone was able and willing to answer my questions. Now I can’t imagine living life without Jesus as my life authority. If you have a friend, neighbor, or coworker who is a follower of Jesus, why not ask them the questions that you have? If that is too uncomfortable, I would love to help in the journey, just let me know. Let’s grab a cup of coffee and explore this subject. BTW. The coffee is on me. Let me know at [email protected]. At the very least, you get a free cup of coffee! Let’s talk.