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There is nothing natural about stepping off the platform of a 60-foot tower into nothing but thin air and adrenaline. I came to that conclusion the hard way some time ago when I took my first leap of faith into the world of bungee jumping.
We made a quick trip to Tennessee that weekend to see a friend graduate from college and decided to spend the night. My wife and boys wanted to go into Gatlinburg the next morning, and I unenthusiastically gave in.
My idea of getting away from life for a day is not to spend said day walking the streets of the world's cheeziest shopping plaza with people who wear Bermuda shorts, tube socks and black dress shoes.
Ah, and yet there we were. We went into the Guinness Book of World Records Museum, where we saw pictures of men who have accomplished such notable feats as squirting milk out of their eyes or eating a Cessna 150 aircraft. But even with such high-brow, intellectually stirring wonders as these, we weren't done yet, oh no.
Josh wanted to drive go-carts and Zach wanted to play mini-golf. Wow! Where in Gatlinburg are you going to find a place that has both go-carts AND mini-golf? There couldn't be more than a thousand of them. You could literally close your eyes, stick out both hands and start walking, and if you didn't get hit by one of the 400,000 cars on the street or picked up by the police for looking stupid, you would bump into one. So we chose a place and putted around, or putt-putted around as the case would be. That's when I noticed the tower.
Now I must admit, I have always wanted to try bungee jumping just once. But something (like common sense, or fear of death) has always stopped me. But, hey, I'm trapped in Gatlinburg ... what have I got to lose?
They stuck me in a harness, exactly like my old rock climbing harness. That felt natural. They made me walk up steps. I've walked up steps before. That felt natural. They took $10 from me. I'm on vacation, so people taking money from me is no new event. That felt natural.
Then they took me to the edge and said jump.
Here's where the problem came. I knew the safety equipment was in place. I knew the rope would hold. I had watched other people jump all day.
But here I was, with my natural tendency to not step off of ledges screaming in one ear and my macho unwillingness to back down screaming in the other.
In the end, I jumped, the rope held, I bounced, the attendant said "Good job," and I shook for half an hour. There is nothing natural about bungee jumping.
You know what I think it is? The commitment. Most of the things we do in life have a back door, an escape route if things go wrong. But bungee jumping is done by completely leaving the safety of the tower behind and giving yourself to the leap of faith. At that point, you are out of control and everything depends on the rope, not on you. Once you jump, there's no turning back.
Following Christ is supposed to be like that, a leap of faith where you commit to following him without any thought of turning back. A total commitment where everything depends on him, not on you.
When you first gave your life to Christ it was supposed to be like that, total commitment. Paul says it's like making your life a living sacrifice.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship." (Romans 12:1)
Funny thing about sacrifices; they're almost never in control, and if you have made your life the sacrifice to Christ you promised it would be, neither are you. Scary isn't it, being totally and completely in the control of something other than yourself? Welcome to life as a disciple.
When you're bungee jumping, at the end of the fall the cord catches you and you're safe. When you're ready to totally commit your life to Christ, he catches you in his hands, and that's a good place to be. Take the leap.