Quite a few years ago, I was traveling by interstate bus from Brisbane to Melbourne. On these buses, travelers are allotted set seat numbers with their tickets. I had arrived early and found my seat just in time to watch this small drama unfold. A man was already settled into the seat immediately in front of mine, when another man boarded and wandered down the aisle looking at seat numbers. Finally he stopped, looked at the man seated in front of me, and said that the seat was his. A fairly strong disagreement broke out, with both men flashing their tickets and insisting that the seat was theirs. Finally, the second man went back into the terminal and returned with a lady from the bus company office to settle the dispute. After looking at the first man’s ticket, she regarded him solemnly for a moment before delivering her verdict: “Yes, Sir, you are definitely in the right seat. Unfortunately, you are on the wrong bus!”
Many people in the world today are “in the right seat” but on the “wrong bus.” They have faith, but their faith is not based in truth. They “believe in God” but have never found the reality of Who God is, or how He is to be approached. They pray, but their prayers are not directed to the only true Source of power. They look for salvation, but have never come to the Saviour.
A skydiver may have faith in his parachute, that when he pulls the ripcord it will open and successfully slow his decent toward earth so that he can land safely. However, if his parachute has been incorrectly packed, or if someone has tampered with it, it may not function properly. No matter how much faith the skydiver has, it will not prevent him from plunging to his death.
Likewise many a small boy has launched himself off a rooftop or other high spot, believing that if he just flapped his arms hard enough he would be able to fly, only to learn with bruised ego and scraped knees, that little boys were not designed to fly. No matter how passionately he believed it, believing could never make it so.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the father except through Me.” (John 14:6, NIV) If our faith is placed anywhere other than in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are on the wrong bus. It will not take us where we want to go, no matter how much faith we exert. If we believe in a god other than the God Who manifested Himself in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, we will find ourselves headed in the wrong direction. Our prayers addressed other than through Jesus will not bring us answers, and there is no other who can offer us the reality of salvation.
Some people think that it does not matter what we believe, as long as we are sincere, but being sincere is not enough. There are many people in the world who sincerely wrong. The man sitting in front of me in the bus was sincere, but he was wrong. The prophets of Baal who confronted Elijah on Mount Carmel were sincere, but they were wrong. The misguided young men and women who blow themselves up in suicide bombings are sincere, but they are wrong.
Much as some people don’t like the idea, truth is objective. We cannot shape it to our wishes. And it is only when we base our faith on truth, on the reality of Who God is and what He has said, that our faith has any value.
Where is your faith placed? If we place our faith in fantasies and wishes, we will find ourselves going nowhere, but when our faith is firmly placed in God through the Lord Jesus Christ, and based on the truth of God’s Word, we begin to move in the right direction.