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The Jump !

April 4, 2012

“I hope I am never that scared again!”   My words gushed forth, moments after my feet touched the earth…..

Nothing in my past had prepared me for the moment I was poised at the edge of an aircraft, the wind blowing in my face, and 13,000 feet of space between me and the ground below.

On May 30, 2006, Matt and I kicked an item off our bucket list when we jumped from an airplane and, following a 45-second tandem freefall at 120 mph, parachuted to the ground.   What a rush!

 

While the experience itself was unique, it also provided a plethora of spiritual metaphors……

Belief vs Faith:   Despite signing away all of my future legal rights in any conceivable situation (I mean, who can comprehend six pages of “whereas” and ‘therefores” ?), I was confident the equipment and the skydiving professionals would provide a safe experience.  I attended a short class that taught me how my harness would fit, how I would be fastened to the dive master behind me, and how the parachute would deploy – even automatically, if need be, based upon an imbedded altimeter.  I was briefed again as I climbed into my jumpsuit and yet again shortly before the door of the plane opened and people started spilling out like ants at a picnic.

Although I believed the equipment would work correctly and the person lashed behind me was competent, when did I truly demonstrate my faith?  When I walked to the plane?   When I was fastened to the professional jumper?  When I inched toward the open door?   No, none of those acts demonstrated true faith.

My belief became faith when I was poised on the edge and chose to hurl myself into the open sky.

So it is with faith in Christ.  I can believe many things about God (He is forgiving, faithful, good), but until I actually take the step of turning my life over to Him, I have not demonstrated any faith.  Until then, all I’ve shown is a belief in a set of facts.  Faith means turning over to God everything that comes my way.

Knowledge:  How much technical knowledge about skydiving did I need in order to jump?  None!   I did not have to know how to fly the plane, how the parachute worked, or when to pull the cord to deploy it.

Many people are reluctant to yield their lives to Jesus because they feel they don’t know everything they need to know.  The truth is, however, that you don’t have to know everything in order to be faithful or obedient.  You can respond to God’s call from the point you are now in your life – wherever that is.

 

Encouragement:  Funny thing…when it comes to the unknown, family and friends may not be thrilled.  Although supportive, Allison and Denyce were not exactly overflowing with encouragement – even going so far as to ask the skydive company what their worst accident had been!  When you follow Christ, you may have to do so without the full support of those you love and whose opinion you value.

On the other hand, I doubt I would ever have jumped from an airplane if I was by myself.  It was Matt’s enthusiasm and the ladies’ tacit approval that made this entire experience possible.  Would I have even bothered to make the reservation by myself to jump? No.  Would I have shown up on jump day by myself?  No.  Would I have even gone up in a airplane and jumped out alone?  No.

Who do you know that needs your encouragement to pursue a personal relationship with Christ?

 

Individual Decision:   No one can jump for you.  If I wanted to experience a skydive, I had to actually go up in a plane and jump out.  My family and friends could not jump for me; I had to do it myself.  If Matt had jumped and I had not, would I still be able to claim I had skydived?  Of course not.

When you put your faith in Christ, the decision is yours and yours alone – no one can do it for you.  Your affiliation with other believers will not save you.  You must make your own commitment to Jesus.

 

Cost:  Before the jump, it was easy to say it cost too much.  In terms of time, it took most of a morning to sign the waivers, take the class, get suited up, fly to altitude, and jump.  The actual cost in dollars gave even more pause to reconsider with the whole experience.   Afterward, however, the issue of cost seemed preposterous.  What price would have been too expensive for this experience?

So it is with Jesus…….before one makes a commitment to put their faith in Christ, the cost of doing so may seem prohibitive.   What must be given up – a lifestyle, a relationship, a habit – may seem too much to sacrifice.  But, as those that truly know Him will attest, there is no price too high to pay for a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.

 

Grace:  What did I do to ensure a safe landing?   Did I pack the parachute?  Did I make sure the drag chute opened?  Did I steer the parachute so we landed without a stumble?  Obviously not….

So it is with God – there is nothing we can add to what He has done in order to achieve our own salvation.  God has already provided all that is needed – mercy, grace, and forgiveness of sin.

 

Initiative:  When I was in college, skydiving was on my list of things to do sometime during my life.  Interestingly, however, I never did anything to make that happen.  I did not investigate what it takes to skydive, how much it costs, or even where I might be able to skydive.  I suppose I thought skydiving would just magically occur in the course of my everyday life.

Isn’t that how many people operate – presuming a relationship with God will somehow intersect their life at some future point?   And, then they will respond to His invitation?  God has already initiated a relationship with every person – the next move is yours.  If you continue to do what you have always done, why should you expect anything different to happen?

 

Fear:  Lastly, the reason most people never attempt a skydive?  Fear.  Even I acknowledged that “I hope I’m never that afraid again”.

However, the Bible teaches there will come a day when everyone will stand before God in judgment.

There will certainly come a time when each of us will be more fearful than I was on the precipice of that plane that day…..  We teach people to love God, but don’t teach them the fear and awe of God.

 

If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, there is no better time than now.  Nothing you have done cas separte you from Him, if you are willing to follow obediantly.

To those that know Him, I challenge you to be a catalyst for Jesus – encouraging those you come in contact with to respond to Him. The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:11, “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.” Do not let fear, arguments, or knowledge keep you from being an encourager.

 

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