Imagine with me a cool but sunny day in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. You have been working alongside your brother Wilbur for a number of years on a major project. Finally in 1903 all of your training, practice, experience, and trials come to a head as you attempt to get your flying machine into the air. You start the engine and the props start spinning pulling you faster and faster across the field. Just when you think you’ve done it and are about to leave the ground the wings bend twist and break. You detach yourself from the machine in frustration and walk back to where your brother is watching with binoculars. “I can’t believe it, we were so close” you say as you get within ear shot. “Don’t worry Orville we’ve succeeded” says your brother in reply to your clear disappointment. “What do mean?” “Well we have been going about this all wrong, we’ve been trying to conform to a stifling set of limitations regarding flight. We limit ourselves by insisting that flight involves the ability to get a manned vehicle off the ground for a sustained period of time. That’s clearly not what we’re doing. We are moving a winged vehicle with propellers and as far as I’m concerned that’s flight.” “What!”. “That’s genius, we’ve been flying all this time. How did we not realize that the thing that was really holding us back was not our design or implementation but the definition of flight.” “All that we really needed was to adopt a more appropriate definition and voila we’ve done it…sustained manned flight.”
Well we all know that this is not how things really happened that historic day in December of 1903 when the Wright brothers really did get a heavier than air vehicle off the ground for a significant period of time. They were actually able to make a number of short flights that day, taking turns in the Pilot’s seat.
However I’m telling this story in a different way because I want you to think about how you reacted. What did you think about the idea of just redefining flight as a substitute for actually achieving it? You knew that the suggestion was foolish and was the same thing as ‘giving up’ on a goal.
Having said that, we live in a culture that over the years has developed the habit of doing this very thing. Instead of holding itself to an objective standard, it simply changes the standard in midstream. Our culture is steeped in relativism and ruled by subjectivism. It is not enough to just imagine the world that suits us, where everyone can do their own thing without conscience or constraint.
Christians have not been exempt from this kind of thinking.
- If I have not done what God prescribes in order to become a Christian that’s okay. Let’s just redefine the plan of salvation.
- If we don’t like the way God has described and prescribed worship don’t worry about it. Let’s just redefine that too.
- Forgetting what happened to Cain, we offer God what we want Him to like and what’s convenient for us.
- The same goes for sexual purity, ethical work habits, social interactions and entertainment. If we don’t like what God’s word says about these, just imagine that yes means no and no means yes.
God has spoken truly in his inspired word and with finality through his Son Jesus Christ. God’s word sets the standard by which we must live and will one day be judged. Let us aspire to know it, so that in doing it, we might be saved and lead others to accept God’s salvation.