Have you ever thought of the benefits of gravity? When I set something down, it stays there. As a parent, I love this. I would never be justified in saying, "It's probably where you left it" if not for gravity. Gravity makes staying in shape much easier. Built in resistance is something we take for granted but most of us have heard of the muscle atrophy experienced by astronauts due to living in weightlessness. Gravity keeps water in my glass at supper and holds the atmosphere around earth like a blanket. Oh yeah, it also keeps the blankets on me while I sleep and keeps me on the bed without restraints. Certainly, there are some frustrations with gravity. I'm not crazy about falling when I'm clumsy or when winter brings icy conditions. I have some older friends who suggest gravity is not always an aid to the physique. On the whole, however, it's pretty hard to argue that gravity is anything other than an overwhelming positive in our life.
Now imagine this. Imagine meeting a man who claimed to believe in gravity because of all the good it did for him, personally. This fellow would probably amuse us to some degree. He believes the right thing but for questionable reasons. We might even wish to challenge this hypothetical brother in his beliefs because he has taken something fundamental and made it all about himself. It's not that he's wrong but he has missed the greater point. Gravity ought to be believed in because it's true, whether it is good or bad for me at any given moment.
You, of course, see the parallel. I believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. The second person of the Trinity and the "exact representation of the Godhead." I believe the major tenets of Christianity. I believe these things are true. Recently, however, I have been shown how we (Christians, especially us preacher types) tend to sell Christianity under terms of how good it is for you. To be sure, I believe God is good and good for us and good to us. The greater point, though, is God ought to be believed in because He is. If He isn't, then "we are to be pitied above all men."
"Well, what's the problem?" you ask. Isn't the issue that people believe, no matter the reason? The problem is that belief because of benefits will not be enough to sustain anyone who hits a patch of life where the benefits aren't obvious. Just like the products we buy, when it no longer works it is no longer useful and should be discarded. A firmer foundation would lead to a more resilient faith.
A couple of notes: this post is designed for believers. Moreover, my hope is that it encourages you to examine your own motives for belief. It is not designed to beat someone else up for their motives (those are hard to ascertain). Nor am I intending to speak to non-believers. Some of you are probably objecting to likening faith in a Person who benevolently created and rules the whole universe invisibly to something as obvious as gravity. To that I would say that this is only part 1 . . .