What is in your bottle?

Imagine a bottle about the size of your average water bottle in front of you, full of clear liquid. And you’re thirsty. So would you just pick it up and drink it? What actually is in the bottle? Is it water or hydrochloric acid? What is actual reality?

Increasingly the claim is made that “You can believe what you want to believe and I can believe what I want.” As if, what we believe creates reality. By this reasoning, what is in the bottle is irrelevant; all that matters is what you believe. It’s as if your belief in hydrochloric acid makes the contents of the bottle deadly, while my belief in water creates a safe and satisfying experience. But actually, belief is alignment with what is true and real – tested by just taking a drink. If I start drinking hydrochloric acid, within seconds, if not instantly, reality is proven.

So a more pressing contrast in our time is this. Either 1) We are created by God in His likeness, for a “together” life of love (that we are together with Him and His people, in love) or 2) We are a highly organized accident empty of meaning or purpose.

The Bible claims that we’re truly God’s personal and loved creation. This gives you meaning; that there really is good and evil; that real love is possible, but also that we live within a design with parameters (rules and boundaries). But secularism claims all of existence is the result of matter colliding. This gives us unfettered freedom, but also no right or wrong so there are no rules! But a life of no restraint is also stripped of all meaning, love, goodness or purpose. An accident by definition is not on purpose. A Big Bang offers highly elaborate chemicals but matter cannot “love.” How can chemicals experience love? Only persons can share that experience.

I lived a portion of my student years in the world of meaninglessness. I was drawn by the unfettered freedom, but I was soon exhausted by the lack of love and the hypocrisy. While claiming so much goodness and freedom, I never found a consistent existentialist. No one lives a consistently meaningless life! And interestingly, in our culture, those who claim unfettered freedom seem to have the appeal that they welcome anyone. But I proved that I was galactically stupid (if only by my rejection of God’s good design). And by my selfishness I have proven even more abundantly to be a jerk. And significantly, very few people truly love someone so stupid and so selfish.

Except Jesus … Only in Jesus did I find another entire universe. Jesus, claiming to be God, came to this world not to reward rule-keepers.  He came to rescue – to forgive and transform – idiots and rebels. And I have been over-qualified for that team. By His death and resurrection I can see how serious my failures are and yet also how much He loves sinners like me. And He consistently called not for performance, but for repentance and belief. Turn away from the unreal and align with what is pure, eternal, good reality.

So what’s in your bottle?