Sunday, December 28, 2008

Easy as Jumping Off of a Cliff?


"Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16b)

Have you ever jumped off of something really high in the air? Me, I prefer the safety of my feet on the ground. But for many of my young acquaintances, the thrill of jumping off of "the cliff" was just too much to pass up. Let me explain. This was no ordinary cliff. This was a towering cliff that extended out over the sounds of a flowing river underneath in the heat of a southeast Alabama summer. The only problem was that when you stood on the cliff, you couldn't see the water.

All you could see was the bank of the other side of the river and a treeline. The hardest part about taking the leap, so I have heard, is getting past what you could not see. You had to trust the sound of the flowing water below. You couldn't see it; but, it was there nonetheless. And for the few brave, or reckless, souls that took the plunge, an epic story of endless descent into the river became one of their lifelong "big fish" stories. It meant bragging rights. It meant that you belonged to an elite few knuckleheads that were young enough, brave enough, and dumb enough to take the plunge.

When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, he described salvation in terms that he had never heard before. Salvation wasn't attained by keeping the Law to the letter. Salvation wasn't attained by keeping a check-list of good deeds for the day. Salvation wasn't attained by trusting in the tangible, seen things in life. Rather, Jesus spoke of belief as being the only way to be reconciled to God. Jesus spoke of salvation as believing in what you could not see. In Nicodemus' case, Jesus used the analogy of the wind to describe the regenerative process of the Holy Spirit.

As people around us stand on the cliff of conflict (on the edge of belief), we should be the ones to assure them that there is a fountain of living water ready to catch them. No more trying to be good enough. No more check lists. No more impossible standards to keep. Just believe there is water to catch you. Just believe the Savior is waiting. Just believe. Sounds too good to be true doesn't it?

In reality, though, it is as simple as believing in God's promises. It is as simple as trusting in Jesus for our salvation--making Him the Lord and Savior of our lives. It is, in a very basic way, as easy as jumping off of a cliff.