Believe in…Something?

Nike’s new ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick reads,

Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

This slogan certainly sounds like something a sincerity-is-all-that-matters culture would come up with, but no one really believes it. Perhaps you’re a fan of Kaepernick so this isn’t immediately clear, but I can prove it to you. Just try looking at this picture of Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop. Or this image of Bin Laden. Or, my favorite, Thanos. Parodies are multiplying on the internet, so pick your political villain and behold the absurdity of the Nike slogan.

As a culture, we’ve been living on empty slogans like “Believe in something” for decades (I’m looking at you, Disney and nearly every Christmas movie ever made). Sincerity is not enough. Believing in something is neither commendable nor condemnable in itself. What matters is the content of your belief. What matters is the substance of what you’re living for, what you’re putting your faith—your trust—in.

The apostle Paul understood that belief is only as virtuous as it is true, that our faith is only as good as the trustworthiness of the object of our faith:

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are sill in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. (1 Cor. 15:12–19)

Don’t just sacrifice everything for something. Consider, first, what is true, trustworthy, and worthy of your life. If you do that, I’m convinced you will say with Paul:

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ. (Phil. 3:8)

Amy K. Hall

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