“For by You I run through a troop; by my God I leap over a wall.” 2 Samuel 22:30
When my younger brothers and I were teenagers, we used to climb up on top of the roof of our house and jump to the grass below, rolling on impact. It was great fun for all of us. That was some 40 years ago.
Not too long ago I was coming down an 8-foot ladder, thinking about the next measurement on the rafter I was going to cut, and the angle as well. I stepped off the ladder three rungs from the bottom, jumped when I realized what I had done, and thankfully landed on both feet.
Not everyone lands the way they want to when they jump. But that should never stop us from jumping.
I’m not talking about intentionally jumping off a roof or jumping in the lake in response to a person who suggests we do so when we get on their last nerve. The sort of jumping our world needs is to make the choices which lead to faith.
When David made the statement we began with today, he had just finished a major battle in which, with God’s help, he won hands down. He spoke the words we should say in our prayers no matter what difficult things may happen. “My God, My Rock, in Him will I take refuge; my Shield and the Horn of my salvation; my Stronghold and my Refuge, my Savior.”
God had urged David to jump when he was a simple shepherd boy and was content to do nothing else. But God sought him out to be king of Israel. He became one of the greatest warriors and kings the people of God ever had. He sent the prophet Samuel to his house, who did not stop until he found David.
I’m convinced that one of the reasons the church is in the background for many people today is that most people stay on the ground trying to do things themselves, the way the world urges them to go, and never see the flight that God makes possible in faith. It is like strapping ourselves into a hang glider and going to the top of the cliff where beautiful views and a thrilling flight await, and we just sit there at the top.
Jesse White, former secretary of state in Illinois, looked at life this way. “You don’t,” he said, “jump out of an airplane and stop halfway. It’s all the way.”
It’s the same with faith. John, the apostle, writes in Revelation that he does not want lukewarm followers. Speaking to the church, he says, I know your deeds, you are neither cold or hot. Because you are lukewarm, I will spew you out of my mouth.
We cannot do everything else in our lives the way we want to and then expect God to commend us. If we do, we may get to the gates of heaven one day and God may say, “Now who are you? I don’t have you on the list.”
Heidi Klum, the famous supermodel, has a word of wisdom in this area. “I’m not saying,” she says, “that everyone should swim with sharks, but sometimes you have to jump over your own shadow in order to learn something that you will never forget for the rest of your life. Then you know you can conquer your fears.”
Getting past our fears and shortcomings, asking God to put them in the rearview mirror for us, are ways to jump in faith. We confront them, own them, and work daily to have victory that makes us able to own the fact that God is indeed our shield, stronghold and salvation.
One of the jumpers of the American Revolution, and one of the most prolific inventors in any age, was Benjamin Franklin. One of his many sayings is this: “To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.”
To be ready for the good things and blessings of life, and to turn away from the things which are temporary and bad, this is a big part of what God calls us towards.
So, embrace the all-out, 24 hour a day, all in faith that God calls to embrace. Don’t just be a spectator, be part of the game. Don’t go to church or help your neighbor in the leftover moments of life. Make them first priority.
That is what God did for you and me. He made us his first priority when he sent his only son to give his life so that we might live forever. Walk, leap, fly, praise God with all that you do.
Do so much that people criticize you for it.
“Blessed are you,” says Jesus, “when people hate you, and when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For their fathers treated the prophets in the same way.” ~ Luke 6:22