What if our spiritual walk with God was like a sky diving adventure. Think of it like this – God is our pilot, Jesus in the jump instructor and the Holy Spirit is our parachute. We have all been offered the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. For this analogy, the gift of salvation is like being given a sky diving experience. We all have the opportunity to accept the gift, but many choose to not accept it. It is not for them; they are scared of heights; they just don’t want to experience sky diving. Those who accept the gift from the jump instructor arrive at the airport and are given sky diving instructions from the jump instructor. They are given a jump manual (Bible) and encouraged to read it. The manual provides instructions on how to make the sky diving experience successful and what to do when you encounter problems along the way.
When you arrive, you are given your parachute and explained how it works and how to wear it. Before you board the plane, you put on your parachute and get ready for your adventure. Remember, this journey was a gift and did not cost you anything. All you were asked to do was listen to the instructions, read the manual and wear the parachute. This is where our journey will talk about four different passengers.
Passenger 1 accepted the gift, went through the training, put on the parachute, but as they were walking towards the plane started to see all kinds of obstacles. The plane was too small, the engines were too noisy, the seats did not look comfortable and the parachute seemed to restricting. Passenger 1 decided to not get on the plane and was going to look for a better plane to sky dive from.
Passenger 2 went through the same steps, but got on the plane and prepared for the experience. But as the plane reached the jump zone, passenger 2 decided he was not interested in jumping. He liked the comfort of the plane and knowing that he was going to be safe. The jump instructor tried to encourage passenger 2 to jump and trust him, but in the end, he refused. He was told the parachute would protect and guide him to his destination, but the passenger just wanted to enjoy the flight and the snacks and entertainment.
Passenger 3 went through the same steps, but when the plane entered the jump zone and the door was opened, this passenger froze and was afraid to take the step of faith to make the jump. The jump instructor encouraged him, reminded him of the instructions in the manual, explained that the parachute would be with him, but the passenger just stood at the door and froze. Finally, after much encouragement, the jump instructor pushed the passenger out the door and his adventure began. At first, he screamed in fear as he began falling towards the ground. But as he caught his breath, he remembered the words of the jump instructor and pulled the release cord for his parachute. The parachute deployed and slowed his fall. At first the passenger did not remember what to do and just let the wind blow him where it would. But as he remembered the words of the instructor and what he read in the manual, he started to work with parachute to guide his journey towards the destination. He realized that the words and teaching were correct and he felt more and more comfortable as he learned to trust the parachute and he believed he would now safely arrive at destination. Now, what is true of most first-time jumpers? They will make some mistakes and they miss the target or land too hard and injure themselves along the way, but they realize that the parachute works and the instructions are true and they want to jump again in the future.
Passenger 4 was an experienced jumper. He had done many jumps before and he was on his next journey. But, even though he was experienced and had been there before, he still listened to the jump instructor, still read through the manual and made sure that his parachute was safely fastened before he entered the plane. When it was time to jump, he walked to the door, looked out and took in the beauty around him. After a deep breath he jumped and fell towards the earth. He enjoyed the exhilaration of the fall, but he knew his parachute was right there with him and ready to open when the time was right. When he pulled the cord, the parachute deployed and he used it to guide him to his destination. He hit the target and landed smoothly on his feet.
When you think of the four passengers, which one is you? For me I have been passenger number three. I needed to be pushed out of plane. But after being pushed, I have enjoyed the freedom, the beauty and excitement of allowing the parachute to get me to my destination. I have found that stepping out of my comfort zone has provided new opportunities to trust God and see Him working in ways I would have missed in the past.
I loved the Jesus Calling devotional for December 9th. It says:
BE WILLING TO GO OUT on a limb with Me. If that is where I am leading you, it is the safest place to be. Your desire to live a risk-free life is a form of unbelief. Your longing to live close to Me is at odds with your attempts to minimize risk. You are approaching a crossroads in your journey. In order to follow Me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish your tendency to play it safe.
Let Me lead you step by step through this day. If your primary focus is on Me, you can walk along perilous paths without being afraid. Eventually, you will learn to relax and enjoy the adventure of our journey together. As long as you stay close to Me, My sovereign Presence protects you wherever you go.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. —PSALM 23:4
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. —PSALM 9:10
“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” —JOHN 12:26